A Compassionate God

psalm34Do you ever have those times when your life looks bleak, and you feel sort of weak?  Seek the Lord is the suggested remedy and advice of Moses for such times:  “You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29).” How much comfort do you find in these words of Moses?

Before you get to feeling too warm and fuzzy, let me share the rest of the verse: “You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Just when you think you are about to enjoy life on Easy Street, you have to run into the pothole of obedience.  That’s right:  Obedience is the qualifier to the promise.  According to old Moses, you’ll need to seek God with ALL your heart and ALL your soul if you are going to find God.

Does this remind you of what Jesus said in response to a question about the greatest commandment?  Jesus said it is to, “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind.”

None of this half-hearted saccharine sentimentalism will do.  Jesus said obedience is an absolute essential (John 14:23):

“When a man loves me, he follows my teaching. Then my Father will love him, and we will come to that man and make our home within him. The man who does not really love me will not follow my teaching. Indeed, what you are hearing from me now is not really my saying, but comes from the Father who sent me.”

Obedience is tough work, so when you stumble, fail, and fall you might want to know the rest of what Moses said:

“When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, you will return to the Lord your God in later days and obey Him.  He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that He swore to them by oath, because the Lord your God is a compassionate God.”

To help you get through the day, I encourage to you to keep these last two words on your heart, in your mind, and on the edge of your lips:  “compassionate God.”

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

trustGodWhen people are confronted with the existence of evil, some will question the existence of God. When this happens, I encourage people to consider the nature of evil.  Evil and Good are value judgments, and as such, they must be measured against a morally perfect standard.  If some act deviates from this standard, it is deemed to be evil.

Early in his life, C.S. Lewis rejected the idea of God.  After a thorough investigation, he made an interesting statement:   “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”  Lewis also made the point that a portrait is a good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original.

Any time you feel intense physical or emotional pain, you may find yourself asking the question:  “Why?”  Randy Alcorn offers an excellent discussion of suffering and the sovereignty of God in his book If Good Is Good:  Why Do We Hurt?  

God is both loving and sovereign . . . Knowing this should give us great confidence that even when we don’t see any redemptive meaning in our suffering, God can see it—and one day we will too. We can trust that God has a purpose for whatever he permits. We are limited to time; God is not. From the perspective of a timeless God, the distant future—when justice is fully granted, and evil and suffering are gone—is as real as the present. What he knows he will ultimately accomplish through suffering, for his glory and our good, is not merely a possibility but a reality he can already see, in all its fullness ~Randy Alcorn

Immorality, pain, suffering, evil, and ethical failures are, according to some people reasons to question the presence of a loving God.  I strongly disagree with this assessment, and  I believe they help to prove the existence of God.  I have written about this in the past, and encourage you to read my post: Why God?

My words are neither nonsensical nor vacuous, they are the thoughts of one who has walked the path of suffering and loss on more than one occasion, and I still believe in the goodness of God.