May I be brutally honest? Of course I can. I know the relationship we have, but I wanted to be sure before I penned the following paragraphs. You probably get tired of me telling you of the battle I wage against distrust of God. Nevertheless, I struggle to trust. I know it is irrational, circumstantial, and unbiblical. But, aren’t your struggles as well?
Two weeks ago, events lined up in a gauntlet of life that left me so stressed I was having chest pains. Yes, I know I should trust the Lord; I was trying! But therein lay much of the problem.
Suffice it to say I felt abandoned by God and hunted by the enemy. I was on the defensive with God and on the run from the devil, both of which, by the way, are losing propositions. I desperately wanted to hide out and hunker down, but not even a retreat to the garage eased the barrage. (When a man can’t hunker down in his garage, you know life is tough!)
Circumstances degenerated from bad to worse. Ten days later I was dazed and shell shocked. Finally, a break in the action occurred and I grabbed a couple of hours (you thought I was going to say, beers, didn’t you?) to sit down and process the previous day’s casualties, the most significant of which was God.
I had given up telling God what I thought of Him earlier in the week. It was clear my opinion was having little motivational effect getting Him to do what I felt was right. The conclusion appeared evident: God is supposed to be good, but from my vantage point His goodness is speculative and in jeopardy.
It is a therapeutic discipline for me to sit down and write since putting words to paper demands clear thinking and leaves little room for generalization and assumptions. As I began to form words into sentences and examine the presuppositions penned before me, I realized I had fallen into a familiar pit. Like Daniel, I was not devoured by the lions, but I sure had a lot of slobber on me.
For the umpteenth time I came face-to-face with my expectation that God should treat me differently because I am trying hard and doing a good job. Not only is He being unreasonable, it is not fair of Him to show such little regard for my yeoman effort to be good. If I am working so hard to be good, why should He not follow suit?
You may recall some earlier words of mine: “God is not fair, and we don’t want Him to be. If He is fair, then we will all wind up in hell.” Have you noticed that just because you write something down and believe it, doesn’t necessarily mean you will remember it when you need it the most?
I know God is not fair, neither is he predictable or safe. And I don’t want Him to be fair, predictable, and safe. But God is good, and I desperately need to know and believe this about Father God.
I had defined “good” using the term “fair,” and that was a critical mistake. Because I failed to define “good” correctly, and believed goodness to include fairness, I wound up with a perspective of God that rendered Him neither fair nor good. Oy vey!
God is not fair.
He is not safe.
He is not predictable.
But God is good.
I realized as I worked my way back over the battlefield, picking up the pieces of my composure and my theology, that I know a great deal about fairness, safety, and predictability. But, I don’t understand goodness nearly as I need to.
I dropped my perspective, ceased reconnoitering the battlefield, and voiced a new question: “Father, you have listened patiently to me berate and misjudge you and cast you in my own image. I apologize. Jesus said, ‘None is good except for God.’ I believe what He said. Father, would you help me understand your goodness?”