Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hard to Get

In the midst of our efforts to remain faithful and be obedient to our Savior sometimes we get distracted and frustrated because we do not understand why things are the way they are. We wonder why we are faced with certain life challenges. We do not see the purpose or even the cause of the things we suffer through. We actually feel a sense of divine injustice. Some will lose faith. Others will question their Creator.

I have been both places. More often than not though, I am a questioner. I don't know if that's appreciated in the heavenly realms, but God did let Job rattle on for 38 chapters. Oh to be as sound in my thinking as Job. Do you remember what God said to Job in chapter 38 after all his entreaties?

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.

God went on like that with question after question for two chapters. Job, of course, had no answers and you know what? He never got any from God either. As our modern philosophy so tritely puts it, "it is what it is". There are things that, even if explained, we would never understand. This does not stop the questions of course. Like two year old's, we want to know the "why", even if there is no way we will comprehend what is in the mind of God. 

This is maybe why Paul says in Romans 9:

 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

and again...
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

God's mercy is at once a glorious and terrible thing. It can be received like a cool drink of water on a hot day when we need it or as a gross miscarriage of justice when applied to someone else we have judged as undeserving. The fact is though, we all need His mercy and His grace. We should accept that gift and move forward regardless of who we are and we should not pass judgement on God when He gives it to people we have deemed unworthy. Who are we to do the "deeming" anyway?

So question away. God is bigger than you know and he can take it. What you need to consider is this....are you big enough to withstand his reply? 

Again, to close, I will turn to another song by Rich Mullins. In his song, "Hard to Get", he gives an apt description of our sometimes attitude and a reminder of what His mercy cost.
You who live in Heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

Do you remember when You lived down here?
Where we all scrape to find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said

Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then

Did You ever know loneliness, did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on and Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat

Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know You bore our sorrows
And I know You feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained

And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret

I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

The last stanza says it all. The Lord does understand us. He knows we have questions. This is why we must be faithful and obedient. We will probably not understand while we are here. But someday, I think it will be clear. We will know. And it will have been worth the stress.

Keep walking Christian. He's just ahead of you. You might even be able to see Him smiling as He looks over His shoulder. He is taking you to a wonderful place. If you fall down, He will come back for you. You are not alone!   

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