How could a loving God give you everything, and then demand everything in return?
Brennan Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, recalled a Sunday morning Bible study:
A pastor read a passage from Genesis 22 where God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. Isaac was the son that God had promised for years, and Abraham and Sarah had gone through much tribulation while waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son. Now, the son was here, and Abraham was being called to sacrifice him. (End of the story, God saw Abraham’s faith, and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac.)
The pastor offered some historical background, then said, “What does this mean for us?”
One man answered, “I’ll tell you what it means for me, I’m looking for a new church.”
The pastor asked, “Why?”
The man replied, “Because when I look at God, the God of Abraham, I feel that I am new a real God, not the sort of dignified businesslike Rotary Club God we chatter about here on Sunday Mornings. Abraham’s God could blow a man to bits, give then take a child, ask everything from a person, then want more. I want to know that God!”
The man’s assessment of God emphasized His power, and downplayed His love and grace. Likewise, many today emphasize His grace and love but not His power. A true understanding of God understands both, and sees the balance in the character of God.
For years, churches have preached about the love of God, and how He loves each and every one of us. We preach about His grace, and how He provides and cares for us.
Then, tragedy happens, and we don’t understand how that tragedy can be consistent with God’s love and care. If God is all powerful, in control of all things, and is loving, how can He allow such a tragedy to enter our lives?
We stumble for answers. Maybe God’s building our faith. Maybe He’s setting us up to be a witness for His glory. Maybe someone else will be saved because of our suffering. Yet, none of these explanations offer much comfort. Why should I have to suffer so that God can make a point?
The truth is, God does not make you suffer just so He can make a point. He does, however, use suffering to draw us closer to Him. Everything He does is to draw us into His presence. What does that mean?
In Job 19:25, after losing all of his property, livestock, wealth, and children, Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and will stand on the earth in the last day.” He went on to say that after he had died, yet in his flesh would he see the Lord.
Job called the Lord his “Redeemer.” What does that mean?
A redeemer is one who rescues. In the Old Testament sense, it was a family member who raised the money to purchase a loved one out of slavery. The redeemer redeemed the family member from bondage and set them free.
Job was not a slave, yet he looked for his “Redeemer.” From what did Job have to be “redeemed?”
He was redeemed from the curse of his sin. Likewise, he was looking forward to the day he would be redeemed from the sufferings of this life. He was looking forward to the Lord’s return, and his redemption into everlasting life.
Job came to understand this, and thus in Job 42:5, he said “My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”
Over the next few weeks at Life Point, we are going to gain a better understanding of who we are, and the hope we have in God. Furthermore, we are going to gain a better understanding of why trauma and tragedy enter our lives, and what God does to heal it. All of this with the intent to gain a better understanding of the Lord, a stronger faith, and a brighter hope.
Come see us. Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. at 599 Sunrise in Early, TX.