Suffering & the Character of God

I took some personal time this week because my mom had an appointment with an ophthalmologist. When we got our eye exams at the beginning of July, the doctor told mom that he wouldn’t dilate her eyes because her pressure was so high he was afraid she would have an acute attack. Basically scared her to death. So after the rounds of going to her primary care doctor to get a referral to a specialist, here it is six weeks later with the appointment.

As I was scanning my social media feeds and reading various tweets and articles before our appointment, I saw a link to a new video Shane and Shane had done with John Piper for their song “Though He Slay Me.” I’ve loved that song since I first heard it when I downloaded their new album. As I was getting the video ready to share on my Tumblr blog, however, I realized that there was this part of me that felt I was just waiting for something bad to happen. You know, like, your life has been without major issues for a while now, isn’t it about time something bad is going to happen?

In that moment the Lord spoke to me in that still, small voice of HIs and showed me that this thinking was from a misguided view of His character. As much as I love the Gospel and hear it preached weekly, and preach it to myself daily, there is still that part of me that sees God up there somewhere with a big stick just waiting to bring it down upon my head. Sigh.

Bad things do happen. But our Father is not taking pleasure in it when it does. Why He allows bad things to happen has to do with those aspects of His character such as justice and mercy that I can only comprehend in a tiny way, which is what warps my view of Him and why He allows things in my life.

As much as I love anyone in my life, it’s only a teaspoon compared to the vast ocean of God’s love for His children. As much as I long for justice (for others of course, not myself … for myself I want mercy), His justice is so much greater.

It’s easy for us to misread the Old Testament and see the God revealed there differently than the God revealed through Christ in the New Testament. However, Jesus tells us in John 14:9 that “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one and the same. He does not take pleasure in suffering. Remember that Jesus wept (John 11:35).

Regardless of the the results of mom’s eye appointment, good, bad or in between, He is there. He loves us. He is with us in the sunshine and the storm, and the drizzly days. And one day the reality of “everything sad is coming untrue” will be complete. What a glorious day that will be!

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