Monday, October 13, 2008

"Does God Care?"

Today, Chad began an introduction to a new series he's entitling "sink clips." If the name sounds strange to you, join the club!! LOL Since I'm a woman, I don't often relate to or understand home improvement stuff very well (and from how Chad described it, neither does he!). He said that sink clips are strange and complicated things that hold a sink in place and that they are really difficult to deal with! Therefore, he found "sink clips" to be a very fitting title considering these tough questions he will be tackling! (For more information on these topics, he said we can check out www.mosaic.org/podcast):

"Does God care?"
"What's the deal with Hell?"
"What about sex?"
"Is Jesus the only way?"
"Is faith nonsense?"
"Is God in your future?"

Tough questions indeed!! Though, as he pointed out in Colossians 4:5-6, we need to be prepared to answer them when they are asked of us! He acknowledged just how hard that can be sometimes; especially with people we meet our match with! He said he had that problem with an atheist lady he used to work with. He wanted to witness to her, but never attempted it because he knew how sharp and smart she was in arguments. He said that she was better about defending why she DIDN'T believe than he was about what he DOES believe!! Atheists (or any non-Christians for that matter) are very hard to convince because to them, the things of God are foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). But, as it also says in those verses, we don't have to be educated and wise by the world's standards in order to win a soul to Christ!! The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom we need. Still, we need to be prepared to gently and respectfully give answers for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).

So, to start off the series, he began with the first question that I'm sure all of us have asked ourselves many times: "Does God care?" Have you ever wrestled with that in your darkest of moments? I know I have!!

I'm sure that if we look in God's Word, we will see lots of opportunities for that question to be asked. Did God care about Job in his suffering? Did Jesus care that Lazarus died? Of course He does!! God's heart breaks just as much as ours does - and even more so! He doesn't want us to suffer. However, He sometimes allows us to endure the consequences of our own actions/choices in order for us to grow. After all, the Lord disciplines those that He loves (Proverbs 3:12) just like any parent does a child. No one WANTS to see their children suffer, but every now and then, you have GOT to let them learn by making their own mistakes if they are to learn and grow at all!! It's just like a podcast I listened to yesterday in which it was pointed out that the prodigal son's father didn't even argue with the son about getting his inheritance. I'm sure the father knew how foolish and unwise it was, but he knew it was a sacrifice he had to make in order for his son's eyes to be opened to what true riches were. So, he just gave him his portion, and when he hit rock bottom and came back, the father just dusted him off and loved him just as much!!

That also reminds me of a particular time in my life where I had a "prodigal" moment. It concerns the last guy I dated (the boyfriend prior to Mitch). I knew that going out with him wouldn't be a wise use of my time, and God knew it too! In fact, I remember driving in my car and praying about it. I remember that God told me not to go out with him, but I had it in my head that it would all work out and that if anything, I would be a good influence on this guy (back then, I always wanted to "save" the "bad boys"). God told me that he would only cause me pain and break my heart, but I bluntly said that I was going to do it anyways. I'll never forget when God whispered to me, "Ok. I'll be right here waiting for you when you come back- after he breaks your heart." I had tears in my eyes because I knew I was making a very stupid mistake, but that God was stepping aside and allowing me to make it. God doesn't force his will on anyone. We wonder why he doesn't prevent or stop our suffering, but we don't even realize how much he really does prevent (or tries to prevent) if only we would listen!!! Think about how much I could have avoided if I hadn't arrogantly thought that I knew better than God and that "this time, it will be different."

So, to make a long story short, I picked a real winner (NOT!). He was never there for me. He always had an excuse for why he couldn't hang around me. He was totally disinterested and lazy when it came to having any kind of relationship, and he made absolutely no effort to be around me. I was always the one chasing him down, and always finding dead ends when he wasn't where he said he was going to be. It was such a waste of time! My earthly father even spoke up and voiced his concern about this particular boyfriend (which amazed me because he never really said anything about who I went out with). So, I finally woke up and broke up!!

The greater point of all of this is that God isn't the source of our misery, He is the CURE for it!! Satan (as well as our own selves) are the ones that cause pain and misery, not God! He is not to blame. He is the one who wants to restore! Why else would He care enough to send His Son to die for our sins in order that we could be with Him for all eternity? Why else would He walk this earth and experience/empathize with His own creation? Why else would He choose to suffer on our behalf and not spare Himself the humiliation, agony, and death for US? GOD doesn't cause pain, WE DO!! WE inherited the sin bloodline from Adam. We inherited the selfishness, pride, and sinful nature that demands our independence and our own way apart from God. We picked our poison and are living in the consequences. Satan also helps aid in our self-destruction because he wants to cause the most misery and hurt to God's heart as possible. He gets no greater pleasure than to say, "Ha! See God!! Your children hate you!! They blame YOU for all of this!! I am pulling on their strings and influencing them to act out in their flesh rather than that blasted Holy Spirit you gave them - which I hate!! All these horrible people created in your image are spitting in your face…..and I LOVE IT!!!"

How long will we wonder if God really cares about us? How long will we sit in our "ashes" before we trade them in for beauty? That's something else that I heard in a podcast yesterday, and that concept is found in Isaiah 61:3. We may have gone through a lot of junk in our life, but God sees and God cares. He feels our pain and He hates to see His children hurting each other. The day will come when He will restore all things. Many are the people that wronged us, and they can never undo or repay what they have done, but GOD will repay! He will repay THEM (Romans 12:19) and He will also repay us (Isaiah 62:11)! He will most assuredly work all things out of our good (Romans 8:28) just as He promises! He will rebuild and restore us if we allow Him to heal us!! Like a phoenix, we can rise out of the ashes and trade them in for beauty!! Just as we witnessed the restoration of Job, and the resurrection of Lazarus, so can we have newness, restoration, and healing in our lives because of the fact that Jesus really does care!!!

No matter what you have been through or how much you hurt, God is there for you. Maybe it's hard to understand or accept, but He does love you and wants nothing but good things for you!! Bask in the glory of His love and grace this week!! May His grace and peace be with you!!

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