Sunday, November 29, 2015

Is Your God Good Enough?

I was encouraged that this post was published last week at Velvet Ashes (an online community of women serving overseas):

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

Our God is BIG, right? Just as He took Abraham outside and instructed him to look up at the stars, we too can gaze on the vastness of the heavens and get a glimpse of God’s greatness. If God wasn’t great, we wouldn’t have left our homes, like Abraham, to follow Him across the globe. But sometimes our life experiences can shape our view of His goodness. When God acts in a way that doesn’t appear to us to be good, can we continue to put our trust in His unchanging character?

Do we believe that God is good enough?

Does He really care about the difficult circumstances we are facing? Will He give us the strength and grace we need to weather these boat-tipping storms? Take to heart our complaints, our longings, our desperation and pain? Love us and our loved ones (both near and far) with a deeper unconditional, unfailing love than we could ever imagine?

In Your God is Too Small, J.B. Phillips discusses two images of God that are void of goodness: one as a Disappointment and one as a Negative Force:

“To some people the mental image of God is a kind of blur of disappointment. ‘Here,’ they say resentfully and usually with more than a trace of self-pity, ‘is One whom I trusted, but He let me down.’ The rest of their lives is consequently shadowed by this letdown…

Such a god is, of course, in the highest degree inadequate. It is impossible for people who have persuaded themselves that God has failed, to worship or serve Him in any but a perfunctory spirit. What has usually happened to such people is that they have set up in their minds what they think God ought or ought not to do, and when He apparently fails to toe their particular line they feel a sense of grievance.”

Can you relate to this image of God? I sure can. Deep disappointment makes me think of the disciples who shuffled along, faces downcast, on the road to Emmaus. “We had hoped,” they told the mysterious man who appeared beside them, “that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21) It was all over, they believed. Finished. Their hopes for the Messiah had been nailed to the cross and had died with him there.

When you think about a time that God let you down and didn’t come through in the way you hoped, did a part of you die too? Has that deep disappointment caused your worship and service to become a joyless obligation?

You can read the rest at Velvet Ashes:

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