Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dad, Job, and the nature of God

Ok, I've been writing about this in the statuses and comments, and am going to try to organize my thoughts on what is going on.

My Dad is gone, and I'm hurting, and then looking at the whole world and railing against God. I looked over Job again (and just read it back in January) and I understand where he is coming from, demanding answers from God. From where I stand, I didn't f*ck anything up. He let me father die. He lets this sick world go on day after day. I am just plain angry.

First, I probably scared Pastor Steve without meaning to, and I'm sorry. What I said was "I am questioning everything I believe." What I meant was "I am questioning everything I thought I knew about the nature of who God is." Let me make clear: I believe. I believe God is the only God and that the Bible is His word to us. I stand with Peter: "Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life'" (John 6:68, NASB). I am not going to run away from God because there is nowhere else to run, no other God to go to.

A song that describes where I am is Michael Card's I Will Not Walk Away.

What I am questioning is whether or not God is truly good and trustworthy. I am having a hard time trusting Him right now or seeing Him as good. I want to trust Him again; I really do. I just can't right now.

The crux I came to while praying, in short: I ask why You save so few - a remnant; You reply that You were under no obligation to save any, but have chosen to save some. I ask why You created knowing so many would be lost; You direct me back to your answer to Job - that I can't understand. Help that answer, Lord, to seep into my heart, and truly know that the Judge of all the earth always does what's right (Genesis 18:25).

You save only a remnant, and yet that "remnant" is classified as a multitude. "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands" (Revelation 7:9, NASB). And way back in Genesis God promises Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as the sand on the seashore and the stars in the heavens - too many to count (Genesis 22:17, 32:12).

I'm trying to look at this through the lens of the Bible because that is the only way to arrive at truth. I don't want to see things through my own preconceptions or "the gospel according to Victoria" - how I would rule the world.

Yes, I am angry over my father's death, not so much because he died, or even whether or not he's in hell. Those were questions that merely covered the bigger questions of God's goodness in creating this whole world to begin with. That's where I am at this moment. And I am angry that He would create to begin with knowing that so many people would go to hell. I can understand God not saving some people so that His glory can be displayed in His justice. Just, so many?

And this is where the questions cease to be answered. Again and again I circle back to Job. God's answer is what He gave to Job - a non-answer basically saying if you can't explain and control the natural world, how do you expect to understand the supernatural world? I seem to remember Hank Hanegraaff, the "Bible Answer Man," saying that it would be like trying to explain Einstein to a small-necked clam - the clam has no hope of ever understanding something so far beyond him. If I can't understand the list of things He told Job, I certainly can't understand His purposes in creation. Change my heart, God, to be in sync with Yours!

God also points me back to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5, NASB). Admittedly, my "own understanding" is part of the problem, as there is a difference between how *I* would run the world vs. how God runs it.

One post from Dolores made an impact on me because of everyone, she understood what I was saying. I think if you're a Christian long enough, sooner or later you go through something like this. You've gotten past the "What if God doesn't exist?" doubts and now know for a fact that He does. But then the next doubt, the one not often talked about, is "What if He does exist but He's not actually benevolent?" I've been there, too, and it hurts, and it also terrifies. But Victoria, it will pass. A day will come when you suddenly can feel God's goodness, when you know its reality just as surely as you can perceive God existing. Suddenly things make sense even when you can't always explain it logically. It's a grace. It will suddenly rush in as a relief, like cool, quenching water when you're so thirsty you're scared of dying of it. And you will be so much stronger then than you were before these doubts arose!

And this is where I am. As she said, the doubts I'm having are not usually talked about. But I think they should be because my questions are honest questions. I'm not trying to trip anyone up or glorify myself.

I do not have the strength right now to hold onto Him, but this is not the first time I have been this weak, and He had held onto me before. I pray He holds onto me now. I don't understand, and I want to, and I pray that God will change my heart because it is not right with Him right now!

Most every night I find myself praying this prayer by John Piper: ‎"Fix me, change me, alter me, go down, kill me if you can’t, but don’t let me live out of sync with the Bible! Don’t let my heart stay out of sync with the Bible! God, I got all kinds of feelings right now that are not in sync with the Bible. Would you come and change me?"

God is my only hope of getting through this with my faith in Him intact. He has called me and saved me. He has held on to me and carried me when I was too weak to hold onto Him. I have hope that He will carry me through this, too.

So is He good? I don't know right now. But with His help I may just be able to believe it.


Fibromyalgia Information said...

I'm sorry about your father. I know you are dealing with a huge amount of emotion and you will be in my prayers. I don't know what it is like to lose a parent yet, but I can't imagine the hurt and anger you feel. Sidenote- I liked the song you posted.

Arthur_of_Old said...

He is so very good.