“Going to church and praising God, singing about his goodness when things are going great is one thing, but after you have rocked your baby girl in your arms while her precious life drifts away is another, what then?”
Many of us have trouble believing that the maker of the universe, if he even exists, has the time, or inclination to pay much attention to individual people. I can attest that he does, both through personal experience and by what others in the bible have attested to.
If you have read the “about” page on this site, you will know that I have been through some serious life and faith challenges. Challenges that lead to serious questions about who God is, and his relationship with me.
I have found back before I was on the proverbial fence, that getting real answers about God from people can leave one wanting, unsatisfied. Especially when the real hard questions are answered with platitudes. Going to church and praising God, singing about his goodness when things are going great is one thing, but after you have rocked your baby girl in your arms while her precious life drifts away is another, what then?
If you want thoughtful, meaningful answers about who God is, find someone who has gone through some life battles with him. Find some people who have been in the trenches and have experience his presence. People who can attest to his character from experience, who have tested him. God is a person who loves you, not just a theology expressed by religious rituals.
Faith isn’t faith until it is challenged, tested and is still standing firm.
One day, many years ago before I had children, I was on a movie set talking with the driver of large water truck. He was charged with wetting down the streets for a scene we were doing. We had some down time and he was relating a time when his friend questioned God’s love, his son had died. Of course, the question of why was foremost in his mind. Both he and his friend who had lost the son had approached some clergy with broken hearts, but they only received answers that they felt where shallow. Like, God works in mysterious ways, or he has a plan, none of which were satisfying or comforting to them.
I could not answer some of those deep questions then either, nor can I answer them fully now. I did tell him of the character of the God I had come to know and though some things cannot be answered fully to our satisfaction, that doesn’t change who God is, or that he loves each of us. Our perception of God can become skewed when life throws us a curve because we are not in his seat, and we do not have his perspective. All we know is we hurt, we want him to fix it and often we want him to explain himself.
Today, after been through the tragic loss my water truck friend and I discussed decades ago, I occasionally think back to that conversation and what I had said and if I was to have that conversation again with him today, little would have changed except for even greater conviction of who God is and how much he loves each of us.
I would like to relate an experience I had shortly after my son died. I was at a “Promise Keepers” men’s event in the city. During the course of the event, a speaker asked all the father’s to stand with their son’s. He was going to lead everyone in a prayer blessing the bond between dad’s and son’s. I could not suppress the wave of grief and loss that came over me at that moment. I had just lost my first and only son after five years of waiting for him. As I felt my eyes well, fighting desperately to keep it together, I was losing. My heart was broken, O God, I miss my little boy. At that moment, I know the Lord spoke to my heart. It was not audible, it was an inner voice I heard in my mind that said, I know what you are going through, you are feeling some of what I felt when I gave my one and only son for you.
At that, my overwhelming grief subsided and a calm came over me. Not so much a perfect calm, but a controllable sadness. I had heard that voice once before.
Back when I had first become a believer in Christ, I was in church listening to a sermon on family when the I began to think about my brother. The sermon, combined with the fact I was now his age when he died had brought on a flood grief. I was surprised at the level of grief as he had been gone for many years. He had died suddenly from a heart attack after thanksgiving dinner, I did not get to say goodbye, he was just gone.
I heard that quiet voice inside me for the first time and he said, though he was your brother, he was my child. Up until then, I had struggled with the grief of his death, but after that moment, I have had peace and think of him often.
I have learned over the decades that God doesn’t always give us answers, but he does give us his grace to continue despite life’s struggles.
Do you have to be perfect to warrant God’s love and grace, no, not at all. He loved you and me before we were even born. He knows every mistake and every bone head move we will ever make and he still loves us and wants to save us. It is by his grace alone, nothing we can do will impress or disappoint him. His love is unconditional but that doesn’t mean we can don’t need his offer of salvation. Is a mother’s love any less when she watches her child as a death sentence is carried out for crimes committed? No. Either does God’s love change, but he is just and that is why he sent his son to pay for our sins against him.
I have made some really bad decisions both in word and in deed over the years. Some even recently, but God’s grace is there for those who are trusting in him, who are struggling and desire to change. He knows we are not perfect, we are human and prone to mistakes, selfishness and pride. He changes us slowly over the years we walk with him, if we let him.
In my next blog, I will be sharing from the bible the heart of God for those who seek him and even for those who shun him. You will be surprised to know that he has a history of pursuing even those who are running from him. We can even hurt God. He is a personal God who invites us to know him and wants us to invite him into every aspect of our lives.
A line in the video below illustrates the heart of God and his love for everyone, including those who hate him. It says:
“Go ahead, mock my name, my love you is still the same”