Thursday, February 26, 2015

The wrong questions to ask about life and God

We often ask the wrong questions about life. Questions that if we studied the life of Jesus, Paul and a host of Biblical heroes we would not ask. In fact, our questions reflect more of our society than of Biblical theology. Consider the following.

Why me God? We ask this question when suffering enters our lives but the real question is Why not me? Suffering and hardship is a part of the fallen world and I cannot think of a single great figure in the Scriptures who did not suffer and whom God did not use that suffering for redemptive purposes in their lives.

Why does this happen to me when I have served you so well? Another variation of the first question. Yet Jesus explicitly said that to follow Him is to daily take up our cross - as He did. Ironically, following Him closely will often result in more suffering than not because we are following in the "fellowship of His sufferings." What a privilege when it happens even if we would never ask for that privilege.

Why does God not give me all that I ask? Or answer my prayers? Jesus invites us to ask Him to fill all of our needs, even our "daily bread." I would posit that he does answer our prayers but in ways that are best for us. Some things we pray for would not benefit us if He answered as we asked. Yet, He hears and responds to all of our prayers but from His perfect and divine perspective.

What if I am not worthy to ask Him for help? But we are! Because His willingness to hear us is not based on our merit but on His wonderful grace. The truth is that in ourselves we are never worthy of His help. But in His love, mercy and grace He freely gives us His presence, help and the best. There is nothing we can do to cause Jesus to love us more and there is nothing we can do to cause Him to love us less. 

If I serve Him will He  be good to me? Yes! But that question presupposes that there is a quid pro quo between our followership of Him and His blessing on our lives (by our definition). God is always good and He is always sovereign and He always does what is best for us (Romans 8:28). The question is in our definition of "good." God is always "good." We often do not realize what that good is. We see it from a human perspective and He sees it from a divine perspective.

God, if I do this for you will you do this for me? God is not to be bargained with but to be followed, loved and served. He is infinite in His love, His wisdom, His sovereignty and we don't serve Him for personal gain but out of love for the One who gave His life for us. I may serve him faithfully like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and pay with my life. We don't bargain with God. We serve Him and trust Him knowing that He is good, sovereign and has an eternal plan that will make Him look good and His reputation lifted high.

Why would He take my loved one from me in death? It is one of those tough questions but we often forget the other side of the equation. There is nothing - nothing - that compares to being in His presence for eternity. We mourn but the one we lost would not return to their earthly existence for anything once they had tasted just a moment in His presence. We overestimate life (precious as it is) and underestimate heaven (awesome as it is beyond our comprehension). 

Here is the wonderful thing. We, like Job or David in the Psalms can ask of God any question we like. He hears us, empathizes with us, loves us and comforts us. He is not irritated by our questions but they often do not reflect a Biblical theology as much as our own pain and our societies values. In spite of that He loves us in spite of what we ask. 

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.


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