I was recently speaking with someone who is going through a difficult time and has gone through many difficult challenges in their life. It is my opinion, just from the small window I have, that they like many have allowed the challenges, hurts, and rejections of life to cast a shadow on their view of God and thereby hinder a true and intimate relationship.
Do they believe He exits? Yes. Have they surrendered their life to Him? Not from what I can see. This type of response to life’s heartache has created a world full of people who believe in God, who might even believe in Jesus as Savior, but have not fully surrendered to Him as Lord of their life. Definition of Lordship: authority, power, dominion, the territory under the jurisdiction of a lord, supreme power or rule… I can relate to this struggle because like most of the world I have been through painful things that I did not understand in the moment and some that I still do not understand to this very day. Sadly, some of the most painful things I have walked through (or crawled through) have been done intentionally or unintentionally by men or women who carry the Name of the Lord. It is very confusing to have men and women, especially those that are supposed to be leaders in the body of Christ betray, hurt, and reject you and your family and the work you are trying to accomplish. Regardless, I have learned that I cannot judge who God is by the actions of people who profess His Name and yet have a free will of their own. Perhaps it is easier for me to distinguish between God and His people versus someone who goes through a painful situation where it seems to be God Himself. That is: an absent or abusive father, loosing a loved one to a long and painful disease, the loss of a child, or even the loss of himself or herself.
These types of situations so often make us question and ask: “why” and “where was God?” Where was God when 6 million plus Jews and millions of others died in the Holocaust? Where is God when billions of innocent lives have been taken before they take their first breath of air? Where is God when my loved one lies in a bed gasping to breath, suffering, struggling, and dying? Where is God when His children are raped, molested, beaten, and verbally abused and assaulted? Where is God? And why did God allow this to happen?
In my personal walk with the Lord I have had to surrender to two areas of belief when it comes to facing these horrific situations:
1. God has given man free will.
Deuteronomy 30 covers in detail the power of choice but no more clearly than in verse 19:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live….”
Sometimes this free will hurts us and hurts others. Sometimes we choose death and subsequently the consequences. Yes, we serve a God of love and life but God has set-up guidelines and “rules” to keep us in love and life and when the human race steps outside those boundaries we do not prosper.
The problem lies in the fact that bad choices are often wrapped in pretty paper with fluffy bows and the promise of a really good time.
I was recently reading in Genesis 6 and verse 6 pierced my heart:
“And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. “
I felt a wave of sorrow come over me and thought: “Please do not let me grieve Your heart in that way. I never want you to be sorry you created me.”
2. Jesus, Yeshua, is Lord. I am not the Lord and therefore I have to give up my right to understand or at the very least my right to understand right now.
We are living in a fallen world…a world where the choices of man, free will, have lead to many consequences. Some of these choices have been mine and some of these choices have been made by generations before me and yet the consequences remain.
‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation”- Numbers 14:8 (NKJV)
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” –Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV)
Generational blessings and generational curses.
The Lord has been teaching me that I am His child and He is my God and I have to surrender my “right to understand” to His Lordship (His authority, His supreme right to rule). Whether I fully understand is not what matters—it is trusting Him in the midst that matters. Trusting that He is a God of love, He is merciful, He is pure, and He is true. To me this is like the parent child relationship: no one likes a child who questions every instruction with why? Why do I need to go to school? Why do I need to go to bed? Why can’t I hit my sibling? Eventually they will understand the importance of education, rest, and relationships but until then they have to surrender to the parents guidance in these areas. I am in no way belittling the horrendous things so many people have lived through that have caused them to question God. Our world is full of people who commit truly horrific acts that scar, wound, and kill. But I do believe that we can come out of these situations healed with the love of God the Father and with the ability to see God for who He truly is in spite of the world around us. The enemy would love to use these circumstances to cloud our vision of Him but I have to believe that if we can overcome the painful mire of the acts of creation that we can know the Creator and His heart in a more intimate way. We can be stronger. We can know Love. We can know God.