When We Question
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
When we begin questioning the love of God, we need to remember who we are. We have absolutely no claim on His love. We don’t deserve one bit of God’s goodness to us. I once heard a speaker say, “Anything this side of hell is pure grace.” Nothing cuts quicker the nerve of the petulant “Why did this happen to me?” A attitude as a realization of who we are before God, considered in ourselves apart from Christ.
God loved us when we were totally unworthy, when there was nothing whatsoever within us that would call forth His love. Anytime we’re tempted to doubt God’s love for us, we should go back to the Cross and reason in this fashion: If Fox loved me enough to give His Son to die for me when I was His enemy, surely Be loves me enough to care for me now that I am His child. Having loved me to the ultimate extent at the Cross, He cannot possible fail to love me in my times of adversity. Having given such a priceless gift as His Son, surely He will also give all else that is consistent with His glory and my good.
If we’re to trust God in adversity, we must not allow our emotions to hold sway over our minds. Rather, we must use those times to reason through the great truths of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love as they are revealed in Scripture. Our emotions must become subservient to God’s truth.
This doesn’t mean we do not feel the pain of adversity and heartache. We feel it keenly. Nor does it mean we should seek to bury our emotional pain in a stoic-like attitude. We are meant to feel the pain of adversity, but we must resist allowing that pain to cause us to lapse into hard thoughts about God.
As I’ve listened to commercials over the last several years I’ve noticed that they have a common thread. Whether it’s a car or some fashion item or health insurance and the like, the common theme is “get what you deserve.” This seems to be the common thread of society and escalated by politicians. We are constantly being told that we are missing something that we deserve to have and this theme has created a social discontent. Now we know that sales persons deliberately create this discontent in order to entice us to purchase their product. We know politicians do so to persuade our vote to be cast for them. Yet we find that all this has worked together to produce an entitlement mentality. We find deep discontent around us largely due to the misconception that someone or something is keeping us from having all we deserve.
This is a travesty in the world but even a deeper tragedy when it pervades the church. Again there are those who parade as presenters of the Gospel who major in telling us that we deserve more than we have. There are a myriad of schemes given to enable the attaining of all we deserve. We fashion church and ministry to accommodate “what we deserve” and the more they comply with our selfish push the more we push to the Burger King “have it your way.” We have, in some cases switched roles with God. Instead of us being His servants and seeking to please Him, we now see Him as our servant, expecting Him to give us our desires. We even quote the Scripture that says, “He will give you the desires of your heart” conveniently leaving out the the condition “Delight yourself in Him and.”
I believe it’s time for a revolution or a revival, which ever you prefer to call it. It’s time to return to the biblical taught living and attitude. Jesus was clear when He said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” We read in John 13 that He, the King of Glory, pit on the servants towel and washed the disciples’ feet. We read that in the garden, He submitted Himself to the will of the Father that included not only the physical suffering but the agony of “becoming sin.” Jerry Bridges asks us the question. If God loved us so much that He placed the punishment of our sins upon His Son what other things should He do to convince us otherwise. Yet we hear Christians speculate about whether God loves them, especially in adversity. It’s not that God ever implied that we would live adversity free. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that “in this world you will have tribulations.” Thankfully He didn’t conclude there but went on to say “I have overcome the world.”
Paul, the apostle gives us the secret to a joy-filled life. He says, “Whatever state I find myself in, I am content..” He reminds us in Romans 8:28 that everything that God allows in our lives is ultimately for our good.
Let me encourage us to rest in this love of God, to know that He has compassion for us and as the psalmist s says, we’re it not for the mercy and compassion of God we would be consumed.
In these troubled days let us take time to remember the blessings that God has given us rather than those things we lack. I have no doubt that the readers of this devotion have things in their lives that they are bringing before God in prayer. I’m sure there are difficult circumstances and burdens and grief and worries and fears. We do not ignore or pretend these don’t exist. I’m not suggesting some Pollyanna approach to life. We have no need to come to church pretending all is well anymore than showing up at the ER pretending we aren’t sick or suffering. We come, as the beloved children of God, bringing our burdens, sorrows, questions, doubts, and confusion and we bow before the God who has expressed His love for us at the Cross. We sit at His feet with trust and reliance on His character that never changes, believing that He hears our cry and knows our need. We do not come demanding our rights or what we think we deserve. We do not accuse Him of showing favor to others while neglecting us. We rejoice when one of our fellow siblings receive their answer, help, or blessing, knowing that in the impartiality of God that we too are in His love and in due time we too shall receive our need met. We stand in the presence of God with extreme gratitude that His love pardoned our sins, made way for us to be with Him in eternity, and has blessed us beyond measure more than we can count.
From the garden until this present day one of Satan’s s tragedies to to create discontent in the children of God with what God has provided. In the Garden, Adam and Eve had everything one could imagine except for that one thing. Isn’t it interesting that he still works the same today? Someone may have been blessed with many things and yet find themselves discontent because they don’t have that one thing. Sometimes I think we are driven so that the more we have the more we want.
Some years ago I was into hobby cattle farming and I noticed that the cows were always trying to reach through the fence to eat what was on the other side. Now the pasture they were in was more than sufficient to provide their need but there was something attractive about what they were fenced out of. As I watched them, the Lord said to me, “John, this is you. You struggle with temptation and the feeling of lack because you’re sure that what you don’t have is better than what I’ve blessed you with.” What an epiphany! So I have and am learning to be content with all that God is blessing me with and the more content I am with what He has blessed me with, the more He blesses me.
I challenge us to begin 2021 with contented hearts, trusting hearts and believing hearts. I truly believe that God has incredible blessings in store for us. Let’s don’t miss the blessings because we are focused on our frustrations. If you look you will find blessings in every situation. Sometimes you have to look hard.
Dr. John Thompson