Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Has God forgotten?
And his heart frets against the LORD."
I caught myself "fretting against the Lord" in the last couple of days. Actually, it's something I used to do a lot. When I found myself fretting this time, God showed me grace by reminding me that all the answers to the questions I seek are in His Word.There's no other place I can find them, but if I search for His wisdom like a treasure, He will reveal His answers to the questions in my heart. And so, in spite of despair that threatened to wash ashore like a great storm into my soul, I was reminded to look instead for God's,(not my) answers.
The question that bothered me was "Can God really be good when the suffering in this world is at an all time high?" Oh, perhaps I didn't think of it exactly in that way but that is what it boiled down to. I think of another being who questioned God in the Garden of Eden, whispering slyly to an unsuspecting woman, "Yea, hath God said?" (Genesis 3:1)
When I was a younger woman, this question nearly destroyed my faith. In one particular time of struggle before I was married, I carried index cards around with me, on which I wrote encouraging Bible verses and quotes about God's love. Whenever I felt an attack of doubt or panic coming on, I would rifle through the cards, reading them and encouraging myself in the Lord. I I probably looked like a spectacle, but then Peter did write that we were a "peculiar people" in I Peter 2:9!
I found other verses which correspond to this thought of fretting against the Lord, and some verses that tell us what the remedy is for this terrible problem. Years ago, the words of Matthew 25:24 haunted me: "The wicked servant said: ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed." I could have agreed with him. That would prove I was a wicked servant too! God seemed to ask an awful lot of us, and my failures shouted at me to just quit the Christian life already. Praise God, now when I find a thought has popped into my head and I know it is a lie, I try not to even let it germinate in my mind. I often turn to my Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bible (edited by Jerome Smith to find other verses to support what I know to be true. In particular, this time I looked up verses stemming from Matthew 25:24 where the Lord is speaking to the wicked servant in the parable of the talents.
Job lost everything, and in contrast to the wicked servant,he did this:
Job 1:21 "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."
It is the way of the transgressor that is hard! "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard." Proverbs 13:15
Matthew 11:28-30: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
God is good to all people, and He wants all men to be saved. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." II Peter 3:9
It is because I do not yet know Him as I ought that doubts about His goodness creep into my mind. Yes, there is a terrible amount of suffering going on in the world today, but that is not God's fault. He did everything He could to provide us with a great salvation. But He does not force men to accept it. Much of the suffering we see is the result of man choosing in His rebellion to go his own way, without God.
Here then lies the answer for me when I doubt God's Word, or think He has forgotten about us on this planet:
9 "Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
10 And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
14 You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples."
Three answers to my question I see right here: remember the works of the Lord, meditate on all His work, and talk of His deeds. I do not yet know Him as I ought (I Corinthians 8:3) , but this one thing I do, I press on as Paul wrote in Philippians 3 verse 12: "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."
Let us press on then to know Him, refuting the enemy's lies, as we see the day of His coming draw near!