As lightening strikes…

…so strikes random theological reflections on seemingly unrelated topics.

Here goes:
2-15-09 midnight-or-so.

I often hear from younger believers, “Why is God doing this to me?” making it sound as if they are in a situation where God is intentionally making decisions to act in a certain way that results in realities that are exactly what we perceive them to be.

I’m going to reiterate that so I actually make sense this time.

When a person says (moans, asks, whines) “Why is God doing this to me?” this signifies to me as the hearer that this person perceives God to be the major (and only) actor behind the (usually bad) things that are happening to this person. I am always wanting to stop these people and ask them a few things, with the intention of having them reflect on their beliefs about God before they launch into their explanations of what is happening in their lives that is causing them to question “God” and the reasons behind “His” actions.

Question 1
Why do you believe that God is “behind” this particular situation?
(Expected answer: Because He’s God! He’s omnipotent and He’s in charge of everything…isn’t He?)
(My response to expected answer: Well, yes and no. He is, but not in the way that you might think.
Observation #1 – You are ASSUMING wrongly that God is intentionally ORCHESTRATING every single action that happens in the universe.
Fact #1) God is not the only unseen spiritual being and/or force in our world. You speak as if you are forgetting about the Prince of the air, Satan, 1/3 the angels of heaven we call demons, and also mankind & modern society which includes other human beings and institutions, structures, etc.)

Question 2
Who is God to you that you would mentally allow for a belief that God would do things to you that suck, have no meaningful, valid reason, and that are motivated by unconditional and unwavering love?

Question 3
What kind of answer do you expect and/or want?

Question 4
How would that make a difference in your current situation, if at all?

Question 5
If the answer to every time you asked that question was always, “Because He loves you,” each and every single time, would that suffice?

Question 6
Why are you asking me and not God? 😉

^_^ I’m not trying to complain about people asking me questions I cannot answer, but I do want to be put into perspective the assumptions that come with this kind of question/statement. It grates on my nerves to hear a person speak of God as someone would might spitefully act because He just feels like it; I would much rather have people ask, “Why is God allowing this?”

Case in point: Job.

The poor guy lost everything, and God was indeed behind the scenes and in control in His sovereignty. However, He was not the one DOING the painful and horrible things to Job that made the righteous man suffer – Satan was. God had simply allowed it, for reasons that we like to discuss and debate vigorously in seminaries 🙂 However, it is theologically and grammatically incorrect to ask, “Why did God DO that to Job?”

This way of asking, seeing, and thinking has behind it two fundamental discrepancies:
1. That Job’s life belonged to Job and
2. That Job, as a godly man that God boasted of in His courts, deserved to not experience these things.

So we see that behind this simple albeit honest and pure-hearted question, “Why is God doing this to me?!??” there are some serious fallacies about God, reality, ourselves, our lives, and the nature of the universe that need to be corrected…eventually. (But sooner the better, imho).

I’d like to posit my convictions here to close. As a Christian and follower/disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, I believe that:
1. God is Creator.
2. We are therefore, (a part of) created creation.
3. The universe and all living, breathing things in Creation belong to Him.
4. As beings that are created by God, for God, and continue to exist through God; our lives are not objects or our personal possessions that we might do whatever we wish with them.
5. As human beings who exist for the purpose of bringing God glory, the basis of our existence and the chief end of our lives should be to know our Creator, to obey our Creator, to be like our Creator, and to please our Creator.
6. We’re freaking blessed (and the implication here is that GOD is DOING/GIVING/BESTOWING the blessing! as opposed to being “lucky” which connotes random chance) to be created by a God who is not only benevolent and kind, but is in nature LOVE and in personality LOVING and in character a LOVER. Dude, He even LIKES us.
7. In addition to our incredibly fortunate state as beloved creation of God, we are His children, called to inherit His kingdom, given His Spirit, and promised all of eternity in His presence as royalty. (The bible talks plenty about CROWNS! Give Revelations a whirl.)
8. The crazy thing is, none of this is secret and is in detail laid out in His Word.
9. The things He commands us to be and do are GOOD for us.
10. The closer we get to Him, the richer and deeper our lives and the lives around us get!

My heart & ambition: As an American Christian, I’d like to come to a place where the pursuit of MY happiness, success, and security is not the goal or focus of my life. Why? Because the truth is that pursuing these things, especially in the way that the rest of the world and some of the mislead body of Christ teach, will NOT result in my happiness, success, or security…in this life or the next.

Go figure 😛

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He wasn’t joking, folks.

Love ya 😉
-hannah

Seminary homework is cool :)

Homework5a: Anyone Can Give Their Testimony

In the light of the page on “Anyone Can Give Their Testimony,” write a thanksgiving psalm for what God has recently done for your church, or for you personally, or for someone you know, – or imagine yourself back at some significant such experience.
*********************************************
Sit down a while and give ear to my story
As I sing you a song of great redeeming love
The words may chance sound quite familiar to all
Who have been awakened to things from above.

My father’s great house was full of good things
Meant especially for my family and I
I spent most my days with much happiness
Marked by some troubled nights come nigh

Being taught of the High King’s good graces and will
I sought out His presence, to please Him
Looked up to my father for all my direction
My sweet little mother, for good reason

But once in a while when misfortune befell
Our home became a place full of strife
Pretty things became shattered, my heart became tattered
Safe spaces seemed impossible to find.

Into the dark night, I fled without sword
Having left behind all but my treason
Believing deep lies, I heard the King sigh
And thought to myself, “I don’t need Him.”

Running empty and blind, leaving all good behind
I quickly fell into deep muck
And only the King who could see everything
Called out to me, said I would need Him.

At first, I rebelled, kicked and screamed, “You don’t want me!
So afraid of the High King’s rejection
But He put out His hand, and called me, “My friend,”
And asked “Turn around and come home.”

I prayed, “Here I come, but I don’t want to run,”
He said, “That is fine, oh Beloved draw near.”
I sighed and I cried, thinking ‘bout how He died
On Calvary’s hill, just to be near me.

When I got to the door, I stopped and I thought,
“Well, it’s surely been quite a long while.”
Then suddenly I looked up, and in a way so abrupt,
His arms came around me, tight as a vise.

“Good grief, it’s been long, since I’ve last heard your song,
Come and sing to me, daughter of mine,” He said.
With tears streaming down, I was wearing a white gown,
He had bought with His thirty-nine stripes.

And I sang Him a song, oh come, sing along
Of this great redeemer’s true love.

I will sing and sing to You forever, High King
For You’ve called me by name to be Yours.
I’ll never turn back, I’ve made up my mind
To love You and to live as Your bride.

Though I fail and I cheat, though I fall down a heap
At Your feet, I know that You still receive me
This grace is beyond me, but brands me and sears me
On my heart is written the law that brings life.

Some nights I still try, to go far away and hide
From this all-consuming fire that’s been made mine
It’s so overwhelming, His faithfulness and mercy
For anyone and everyone on the line.

When He comes down in glory, returning for His own
We’ll all sing the song of salvation
Until then shall we be, united by that tree
That carried His death that sacred day.

Let my story be heard, each song in its word
Let the praises of my King be shouted!
His magnificence so great, He is coming to reign
Over all Creation, mankind, forevermore.

Amen.