God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23:19, NIV.
The Internet provides an endless resource. On a recent search, I visited a site that deals with Alzheimer’s Disease and those who suffer from the awful affect it poses on its victims. Having lived through the disease with my husband, Richard, before he died in 2014, I am particularly sensitive to those who also have experience with AD.
In the comment section of the site I was visiting, a son speaks about losing his mother to Alzheimer’s. He is angry and more specifically angry with God, Who he suggests deserted his mother in her time of need. Following his comment, several other people responded in like manner; mad at God and even saying that because their loved one died, there is no God! Realizing anything I might say in defense of God would only add fuel their anger, I prayed for The Lord to bring peace and truth into their hearts and minds. Now, I feel led to respond to the general notion that God is not faithful to His promises.
The fact is, God does not need me to defend Him, although, I must confess this to be my first reaction. Then, The Holy Spirit reasoned for me that those who are making a negative evaluation of God are hurting people, confused in their pain. Most of us go through life, I think, with an imagined perception of Who God is and what we expect from Him.
Here are a couple of questions before we delve into the reality of exactly Who God is. The first question is, (1) do we think that because we ask God for something, anything, that He is under obligation to provide that for which we’ve asked? If our answer is, “yes,” then doesn’t it reason, our perception of God is that He is a “sugar daddy” and that as such, His duty is to give us what we want? The second question is, (2) when God says, “no” to our request, do we think He delights in watching His children suffer? Our heavenly Father takes no more pleasure in our pain than that of a loving, earthly father, when disappointment follows a denied request.
Here are some facts to which I think we can all agree:
* Earth is not heaven! It is not our eternal home. Every person is sojourning through the elements of this world; some of the elements are hostile to our existence. Disease and sickness are often the results of our exposure.
* Aging and decay are natural occurrences on earth. All nature is susceptible to the effects of time and the environment.
* Death is certain here on earth! Death is not a matter of “if” only “when and how.”
Now, let’s reveal some truths:
* GOD IS GOOD! ALL OF THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD!
* God does not exist to give us what we ask for, even if it appears to us as the best or right thing to do.
* God does not take delight in human suffering. As difficult as it may be to accept, we are the cause and continued reason for the decline in our environment. Humankind insisted on having his/her way in spite of God’s only command, which was to obey Him. The command was not so that God could wield His power; power that already belonged to Him, but rather to protect His creation. Nor was His command a maneuver used to trick His children into disobedience so they could experience punishment. No, sadly, the gift of freedom to choose revealed the rebellious tendency that resides in EVERY human being, not only then, but now and for future generations.
* Even though our sin did not come as a surprise to God, He NEVER NEVER uses punishment as a teaching tool! Sickness and death are not in an arsenal of weapons He uses against us. Disease and death are the cause and affect of our sinful nature. Therefore, suffering is as natural and inherent to this world as the air we breathe.
* Ever since humanity decided to do things his/her way, at the onset of creation, the result is the decline, decay and eventual death of all things. While suffering and sickness certainly can follow bad choices as it did with the very first two human beings, suffering, and sickness is not always the result of individual wrong actions. (PLEASE read that sentence again and again, if necessary.) REMEMBER: you and I live in a hostile environment where all around us, dangers naturally exist, and these dangers are the “root” of “original sin.”
Please allow me to ask you a very personal question. If you were God, would you do things differently? For anyone who is disgruntled and disapproves of their situation, your answer may be, “yes.” Dear friend, if indeed it is, think seriously about it for a moment. The only conclusion can be that just as our ancestors in the perfect garden, such a belief suggests greater knowledge than that of God, Who is The Creator. If and with the mindset that your way is better, with all affection I suggest, that “rebellion against God” is where it all began.
God sent us the depth and expression of His love in the Person of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. His Love came to fruition on a torturous Roman cross which He endured for our sake. God knows and feels our pain, to be sure. The empty grave is our Hope that no matter how painful our circumstances are here in this world, Eternity awaits all who put their faith and trust in Him.
At this time, I have two daughters who live with the uncertainty that cancer delivers after being diagnosed. With a mothers heart, I pray and hope for healing and a very long life for each one. To consider anything less is unthinkable to me. The reason I share this with you the reader is, so you understand that we are all in the same “boat” called “life.” When it comes to expectations, I am not a “Pollyanna.” With my experiences, so far, to be so would translate into being delusional. Life is unpredictable. But God is rock solid, and I cling to Him in all circumstances whatever they may be!
Just as I am the author of this writing, so God is The Author of His story of which you and I are taking part. It is the story of humanity, earth and all contained therein. It is a beautiful story! You and I may not understand the twists and turns throughout the story, but God has already written the end. As with every excellent and satisfying story, that begins with, “Once upon a time,” and ends with “and they lived happily ever after!” God’s story starts with “In the beginning” (Gen. 1:1, NIV) and ends with “Yes, I am coming soon. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Rev. 22:20-21, NIV.
And, together, I hope you join me in saying, “MARANATHA!”