There are always those days/moments when you realize you wish you had said something or said something differently or done something or done something differently. Most of us can totally relate to regretfully missing some kind of opportunity for clarity or correction or for some other reason. It is part of being an imperfect human. As a Pastor I am familiar with these feelings often. I want to be able to communicate effectively, teach clearly, love humbly, lead courageously, and glorify God faithfully. It is good to have those desires, I hope that you share those same desires as well. It is also good for us to be reminded from time to time that our perfection in those areas is not what matters most, but rather faithfully, humbly, and honestly following the Spirit the best that we can. This is a good reminder because it helps to remind us that our relationship with our Father is not a will power performance based religion but rather a life changing new birth sustained by the Grace of God and equipped by the Spirit of God. It also reminds us that we are not the focal point of God’s plans, He has His own specific plans and purposes and I am just a piece of it not the center of it.
Part of the many things that I am blessed to be able to do on a Sunday is teach from God’s word. I am not perfect at it. I do some of it well and other parts of it I need to continue to grow in. Some Mondays I have a strong confidence about communicating well the previous Sunday what I think the Spirit had for me to say for that morning. Other mornings like this one He reminds me that I did ok in representing His voice, but I had some thing(s) missing. I have learned to take great joy in this. Not in missing things, but in appreciating the Spirit making me aware of what I may have missed. To me it does not indicate some strong spanking from the Father, but it does communicate to my a loving correction that I know I regularly need in my life. It is good to have a Good Father, cue “Good Good Father” song lol. The same is true for anyone who Has entrusted their life to God. Thank you Lord for the shaping, the molding, the pruning — the Loving.
Without making this a super long blog post, yesterday morning during service we studied Romans 8:18-30. At our church we typically study through books of the Bible on Sunday mornings and we are currently in the book of Romans. We only really got as far as verse 28. The focus that I was trying to communicate was that in these verses Paul gives us 2 Promises and 1 Purpose (A Biblical kind of PPP plan) that Will Lead To A Freedom and A Security That Only He Can Provide. Not sure if I really got that across but that is what I was going for LOL.
I thought that there was some good content in that message but I was reminded by the Spirit about a question that I should have asked but did not for whatever reason. The cliff notes version is that Paul is basically reminding the Christ followers in Rome (who he was writing the book too) that difficult circumstances will try to be used by the Enemy hijack and divert our peaceful and victorious Spirit filled life in Christ. Paul was trying to provide encouragement to them in the midst of some extremely difficult realities that they were living in and experiencing. They were very much being reminded by Paul where their faith lies because their immediate circumstances were horrible, truly evil, and probably very overwhelming.
After the message I realized there was a key question that I should have brought up and at least discussed briefly during the message but I did not. This kind of realization happens a good amount of the time, because I am a far from perfect clay pot. So I wanted to write a blog post to share it with you so you can at least consider what was not mentioned yesterday and probably should have been. It seemed so obvious to me afterwards and I felt silly for not recognizing it during my message prep during the week. The question I should have at least brought up and asked is the one that many people ask and consider. I ask the question a few different ways here –> “Why do bad things happen to good and faithful people of God“? or “How can God be good and powerful and allow good and suffering in people’s lives?” or one of my favorite wordings, “Is God worthy of my trust event if I am not blessed?”
How about some more personal practical questions that follow in that same vein:
- Can I still trust God after I have asked for good friends and I don’t have them yet?
- Can I still trust God after I have asked for a spouse and have not received one yet?
- Can I still trust God after my spouse of 1 year or 50 years dies?
- Can I still trust God after my child has passed away?
- Can I still trust God after my kids have turned to a life and rebellion?
- Can I still trust God when my mom and dad are a dysfunctional mess?
- Can I still trust God when an undeserving coworker gets the promotion and I do not?
- When life makes no sense can I still trust God?
All really difficult questions that we all struggle with. There are TONS of more educated, more qualified, more gifted, better seasoned individuals that have written and talked about this very topic and I encourage you to hear and read some of what they say/write. I just wanted to share with you one piece of insight that I pray you will bring to the Father and let Him speak to you directly on.
An insight to me that I find strength and hope in, is not some pithy cute Christian cliche or some deep secret profound truth that theologically answers every issue. A Biblical insight that helps me with this difficult question of “Why do evil acts happen every day with a Loving good God in total control?” is found in the book of Job. Definitely worth your time if you have never read it before. Faithful Job has done nothing wrong and God allows “unfair” and seemingly unloving things into his life. Without a full Book of Job study, the book of Job basically reminds us of these 4 things about God
- We do not exist at the same level of God
- We have to come to grips that we are not His equal
- Many times He does not and will not many times explain Himself
- Many times He does not and will not follow our rules our assumptions
But most importantly to help answer our question, God never gives Job a bottom line answer of why. Job is asking for facts and answers and God just gives job a fuller revelation of Himself. It is incredibly interesting to me how God never actually provided the answers Job wanted God just provided Himself. It is almost as if God is saying, “go ahead Job and ask all the Whys or How Comes you want to but do not expect or assume you are going to get all of the answers you want.” From what we know from Scripture we are never told that Job was ever told about the conversation between the devil and God in Job 2.
It is basically as if God is saying, will you still believe me and trust me even if the answers you are desperately wanting never come your way? In other words we are faced with the reality of, will we Trust Him even if sometimes all we may get is suffering without an answer as to why the suffering is happening?
In a way this complicates it more for me but it also makes sense to me. It makes sense to me that when we are faced with more WHYs than answers, that God is providing for us a chance for us to exercise faith without facts. Isn’t that what Faith is? Sometimes only trusting even when we have zero answers? Isn’t this what Peter was referring to in 1 Peter 1:7?Isn’t that what the Enemy wants to target, our faith? Faith is the critical part of our lives in God and the Enemy is consistently and constantly trying to attack it.
As I write this there are righteous believers and innocent people all over the globe that are experiencing oppression, hatred, violence, and evil. Does the presence of this mean that a Good Loving God is not in control or that He cannot be trusted? Could it be that there are answers, purposes, and a plan that I know nothing of? That you know nothing of? Would I allow those unknowns speak louder than what I do know Christ has done?
Let’s keep asking the hard questions, Let’s keep interceding for our world, Let’s keep praying and fasting, Let’s keep protecting and sticking up for others when they are not able, Let’s keep going to Church, Let’s keep worshipping His name, Let’s keep making ourselves vulnerable to others, Let’s keep allowing The Spirit to be first in our lives. Let’s keep responding in Faith despite not having the answers. Could it be that if Believers respond in greater Faith that this world could experience and see some of God’s supernatural power, plans, and purposes?
Be prepared for no answers or incomplete answers and also be prepared for when you are struggling for a WHY that God will likely only strongly reveal to you a WHO. Be prepared for Your Father to reveal more of WHO He is and less facts about WHAT He does and WHY He does it.
Father show us more of who YOU truly are! Fill our hearts and our homes with more of YOU. We are not in surrender to YOU for what we can get, but rather because of WHO YOU ARE.