February 3, 2013

Run away from God?

Today’s devotional verse is the same as yesterday, but the author of the devotional takes it in an entirely different direction. He speaks about those who experience trouble and loss and run away from God. He says he does not understand life, never mind comprehend such action. He asks, “In God’s name, run to what? Having lost everything else, what could make a person decide to lose Him too?”

I suppose this decision would have something to do with a person’s concept of God. If He exists only to make my life comfortable, then difficulties would make me feel as if I am a mere bug that He steps on and squashes, perhaps not even noticing I am here. How could I trust a God like that?

But if I have been walking with Christ and learning about God’s love and faithfulness, I may lose sight of Him for a time, but I will trust Him to see me through when life goes dark. I will know that because God is true and His promises are certain, then I can hope in Him to keep me going.

Those who assume God is like a genie in a bottle will gain nothing but greater darkness by throwing away the bottle when their genie refuses to grant their wishes. In life’s crunches, their “faith” reveals itself as trust in their own judgment of how life should be, not in God’s grace or His plan.

In contrast, faith is not about experiences but believing that God is who He says He is, and relying on Him no matter what happens. We may believe when the sun is shining, but we must believe when it is dark too, for we have nothing else.
These verses also make me think about the importance of actually trusting God when the sun is shining.

If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)

“Racing with men on foot” points to those ordinary days that belong to God as well as the “competitions with horses.” He guides my life in the grocery aisles and in vital decisions, while I’m cleaning my house and while I am facing far greater challenges. If I relegate God’s love and interest to only the difficult times of life, then I will never learn how to take them in stride without losing faith, or without doubting God’s presence and care.

Learning that faith in Christ is practical and fulfills itself, is real and that its most audacious promises are true happens in daily life. (Is that why Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread?) He promises to provide clothing and daily needs, yet if I think I can handle that myself, what will happen if circumstances prevent me, if I cannot do what I once found simple and easy? Will I think God has abandoned me when my own resources fail? 

Life is a learning curve. In the beginning of my Christian experience, I trusted God for the silliest little things, later taking them for granted and even thinking He gave me a brain, etc. so I can take care of myself. Then troubles came and He brought me full circle, back to trusting Him for everything, because in His kingdom, nothing is little or silly. He knows and cares about each sparrow that falls and the number of hairs on my head.

Much of our Christian education happens through reading the promises of God while in the experiences of life. Faith grabs hold, realizing that none of what God’s Word says is speculation. Why were the prophets so positive that God would take care of His people? How did the psalmist know God would heal the broken?

Isn’t it because it happened to them? When all else failed, God stayed. Daniel knew this in the lion’s den. His friends knew it in the fiery furnace. Even as Christ cried out asking the Father why He had forsaken Him, read the rest of Psalm 22 that He was beginning to quote and see that He had not. 

We feel alone but are never alone. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans” and “I will never leave you or forsake you.” To turn away and say that I will leave Him does not and cannot change what He promises. No matter how foolish I might be, the Lord Jesus Christ is present. If I should resist or push away, that does not change Him. Both the Bible and experience prove that in both sunshine and shadows — He remains. 

1 comment:

Peg said...

So very, very, true! Thank you for continuing to post these thoughts, they lift me up every day!