09 August, 2011
God Loves You So Much More Than You Can Imagine
Twice in the past week I have had friends comment to me about how God was punishing them, causing them to walk through loneliness and depression. One was questioning God altogether, wondering if they were wrong in even believing that God existed. They other commented how that God had decided to make sure that nothing worked out for them. If those two friends happen to read this, I want to assure you that I'm not sitting in judgment of you at all, but rather that I feel your pain. I could be the first one to stand and say, "Been there, done that!" No, I'm not judging you... but I do want to share what I have learned in walking out this journey of life. Not that I have all the answers, but in this area, I do have something to share. I've been to the wall and felt that God (and all others) had forsaken me. I've been in the pit of depression where all seemed hopeless and useless and I've even tried to take my own life many times. I thank God that He was watching over me in those times and He rescued me so that I can tell the tale.
First and foremost, let me say it clearly, God loves YOU so much more than you could ever imagine. He would never give you a beat down. That's not God. It's odd that we simply cannot see it when we are in that place, but there is an enemy of our lives and souls and it is Satan who is giving us the smack down. But in the midst of our beat down, it is as if we have blinders on and we don't see the one kicking our butt... but we see right past him and we see God, the one who is reaching out to us in love and compassion, and we recoil, somehow in our minds thinking those loving hands are the ones inflicting the pain. It's one of the greatest deceptive tools of the enemy. God is NOT the one hurting you! It's kind of like the wounded animal that bites the hands of the one trying to administer healing to those wounds. Still and quiet your soul... stop flailing toiling... and see the hands of love and mercy that have come to pick you up and bring healing in your time of distress and turmoil. That "stilling and quieting" thing is difficult for us to do.
I have to say this... much of our pain is of our own doing. Not always... not even most of the time... but sometimes. For example: recently I was talking with a single mom who was in this "woe is me, God must be mad at me" phase. As we talked, one of her things was her car. She was complaining how GOD had given her two flat tires, how GOD had caused her brakes to go out, how GOD had caused the transmission to break down. (And it went on and on.) I commented how that was a lot to go wrong with a car at one time, and she said, "Yeah, for several months, I'd come out and the tires would be low, and I'd drive up to the gas station and put air in the tires." I asked about the transmission, and she said, "the check engine light has been on for almost a year." She told me that she had a friend check it out and he told her that the transmission fluid was dirty and needed to be changed. So I asked, "How is God to blame for you not having the tires repaired or the fluid in your transmission changed?" She absolutely refused to see that the warning signs were there, and she had ignored them, and now two tires and a transmission were ruined. Folks, we do this sort of thing in life all the time! It may not be in our cars... but God is sending us glimpses and signs... telling us, "deal with this NOW or something bigger and much more devastating and costly is coming!" We have a check in our spirit, and we know not to do something, go somewhere... not to get involved... but we charge right through the yellow flashing lights and then there is a crash! And what do we do? We blame God!
NO! We did that! You can't even blame Satan for that one... you did it yourself!
I find myself talking to the alcoholic who loses their sobriety, and they will say something like, "I wasn't going to drink, I only wanted to go in and see my old friends." Duh? Who would ever think you might drink if you go hang out in a bar with friends who all drink? That's a tough one to figure out! God did not fail this person... they failed themselves!
But what about those times through seemingly no fault of our own, we find ourselves with our back against the wall, or isolated, all alone? What about those times when the doctor's report is bad? What about those times when parents have turned their backs on us and thrown us under the bus? What about the times when it seems there is not a friend to be found? What about the times when there is not a job to be found? Not enough money to pay the bills? (Insert your own situation here) What about those times?
There is a Satan. He is real. And the Bible tells us that he has come to steal, kill and destroy. He has a plan for your life... and it is to beat you down inch by inch, step by step, until you are ready to curse God and die. Poverty, disease, sickness, pain, abandonment, conflict with parents, marital problems, death.... these are not of God. They come about from Satan... the one who wants to destroy you and rob you of any confidence in God. Again... that is not God. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly." God says he has plans for your good, not to harm you, but to prosper you. When you are in these times of loneliness, pain, sorrow and suffering... you need to still yourself and ask this simple question: "Whose plan is right now being made manifest in my life?" If it is not good, if it is not peace, if it is not prospering.. THAT is not God, and we need to determine what needs to be done to get us back on the right course, the right plan for our lives. Sounds overly simple... but this is it. If it is chaos and confusion in our life that we are witnessing... then it is time to examine our lives and ask, "where did I get off course?" This is not God's plan for my life. Stop barking, growling and biting long enough to know that the Face of God that you see is not the one inflicting the beat down... He is there to rescue you out of it.