A few days ago, I posted about allowing God's love and will to direct our lives. We also need to talk about God’s won’t.
I have a friend who is very ill. Now, the flippant, self-serving and self-preserving answers I can give to this situation are:
1. We are all terminal
2. Something is coming for us all
3. The Lord will make a way (somehow).
I could try to hide my real feelings about this situation and try to act like it doesn't bother me. But that would be disingenuous, fake. It does hurt, and it does take its toll, and there are no easy answers for the trials and storms of life. The truth of life is that really bad things can happen to great people and really good things can happen to bad people. We can’t make sense of it. We want a God who will bend to our wills and our desires. As Isaiah puts it, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!" Isaiah 29:16.
We find it easy (?) to follow God’s will when things are going our way, but what about when God won’t give us what we desire? Consciously and unconsciously, we think to ourselves, "If I were God and could control everything in the world, I wouldn't allow someone to suffer like this." Such thoughts show how little we understand and respect God.
In seeking to follow God's will, we must remain open to His won't? Many times we find ourselves in painful and unjust situations, or problems of our own making, or we discover thorns in our flesh. And we cry out, "Save us! Take it away! Roll down your mighty justice (on them)! Smite them, O Lord!"
We are convinced that we know what should happen. We presume to think that God should do this or should intervene there. And when He doesn’t, we question his control, or his love, or both. Questioning by itself is not bad. God gave us brains to think with and free will. But, we turn things upside down. We seek to understand what’s going on and the ramifications based on our own limited understanding of the little we know or see. We must remember that we are the clay, not the potter. There is a God and we are not him. A life of faith means that we live our lives God-side-up, obediently trusting his infinitely tender and merciful hand to mold and shape us and our lives, according to His good will.
But we have hope. Let’s check the Scripture:
“22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay;”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
The Triune God cares deeply for us. If He didn’t care, He wouldn’t have sent His Son (John 3:16), or keep trying to bring us back into the fold. He asks us, implores us to lay our heart-felt heavy burdens on Him, and He will give us the strength to go on.
This does not mean that it won’t ever hurt, or that we won’t ever shed tears, or suffer what we feel are injustices. But, we have Someone who is always standing there in the pit of despair along with us.