I thought that Monday’s post about God’s Attributes would provoke a good debate and I wasn’t wrong. Most people email, text, FB message, or private Tweet me if they have questions about something I’ve written. I wish they wouldn’t because lots of people have the same questions and the discussion would be much livelier if held in a public forum. Let me take this moment to remind readers that you can reply to any post anonymously.
Firstly, we need to touch base with the person who is still very upset that I called Jesus God in the post on the Trinity. This person has sent me video after video of two old dudes sitting at their kitchen table misreading scripture to prove that The Father is God and Jesus is God’s son (not God and no mention of the Holy Spirit) much like I described my friend’s belief in the same post. I pointed out that we obviously do not believe in the same God (mine is Triune) and that we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. My last word to him and everyone else is: please do not take the word of two old guys sitting around a table or even my word as absolute truth (which only comes from God). Do more research, read smarter thinkers than me, dive into some commentaries, and read the Bible for yourself all the while asking the Holy Spirit to impart His wisdom so you can understand. But please don’t base your beliefs on only one source … unless it’s the Bible.
One response, probably to a headline that promoted the post on Twitter and FB which was “Is God good or bad or both or neither?” was that, “God is good. Bad is a human trait.” To which I questioned, “Isn’t good?” As I said in the post – we humans have an innate desire to cast human characteristics onto a God who is not human because we cannot wholly grasp our unfathomable God.
Another reader brought up an interesting question asking, “How do we know whether the bad we are facing is from God or Satan?” I responded in part by saying, “Satan is evil, God is not. God always has a plan and a purpose. Satan is just evil.” She followed up with, “If Satan is evil then that means God is good.” Here we need to be careful of considering Satan to be the opposite of God. He is not. God has no opposite.
A good friend of mine said recently, “Evil happens because we serve a sovereign God who allows it, regardless of the source. We can’t know His plan in its totality. He deliberately created us in such a way that we are to be confounded by such questions. Part of faith is believing with partial understanding, and trusting God to carry us through … as well as faith being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
In a devotional from a couple of years ago, Pastor Rick Warren wrote: “God is good, and he will not cause evil or do evil. But God can use dark and stressful times for good. He’ll use them to teach us to trust him, to show us how to help others, and to draw us closer to other believers.” He ends with good advice, “So, what should you do when you’re going through difficult times? First, you refuse to be discouraged. Then, you remember God is with you. Finally, you rely on God’s protection and guidance. We all go through difficult times. The difference for those who believe in Jesus is not the absence of the shadow but the presence of the Light.” I love that line … the presence of the Light.
A woman I ran into a couple of days ago talked about the way I was ‘dealing with’ my cancer and asked why I was always so danged cheerful? I’m dealing with it cheerfully because I depend on a God who is in charge of the universe and still personal enough to walk with me through it.
Early on (a little over a year ago) I placed the burdens I was facing squarely on His immense shoulders and have lived in a state of divine security and absolute peace since that time. But I think her real question was why did I end up with stage 4b uterine cancer that traveled into my ovaries and into my pelvic lymph nodes and despite all the prayer I received, why didn’t God stop it? She referenced Romans 8:28a which reads: “all things work together for the good of those who love God …” She knows I love God so how was cancer working for my good?
I could probably answer reams about this question, but in a nutshell, I’m not done yet. As long as I’m drawing breath on this earth I have work to do for the Kingdom and I believe God is using this for my good as well as for the good of others. My good because my faith has grown so wide and so deep and has been strengthened to depths I never even knew existed.
God decided that I walk through this trial. I accept that because He is Sovereign. A constant prayer of mine is that He uses my cancer for good and I do know that other people’s faith has been simultaneously strengthened. I have had such great encouragement and support from my fellow leaders in BSF, and many of them have told me that I’ve been an inspiration. To this though I can only smile because I know any strength and determination I have is not from me, but is God’s work in and through me. ALL the glory goes to Him.
Thanks for all your thoughts and questions!
Until next time!