Why, God?

I used to say I didn’t know why God does some of the things He does.

He allows riches to benefit evil men and violence to fall upon the innocent. He allows a good nation to turn against itself and tear itself up from the inside. He allowed my dad to suffer a stroke and then live on severely disabled for 3,063 days before finally passing away.

hen I’m physically weak or emotionally wrecked, I ask God why He allows these things. The answer is obvious: when God does anything, or allows anything to happen, He does it for my own good and for His own glory. Paul tells the Roman believers (and us) that “…we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

But what I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t ask with the right attitude. I don’t even ask with the voice of one “who loves God.” Instead, I question Him with a discontented, complaining heart. In the question, I have no faith. I don’t want to know why God does what He does. Rather, I want God to explain Himself to me. In the question, I rank myself above God and I put Him on trial. I am the prosecutor; He is the defendant.

Forgive me, Lord. You are the Potter. I am the clay. I must consider:

“You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?” (Isaiah 29:16)

And also:

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

And finally:

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

I don’t know how God works the details to meet His own will. And when my heart is in the right place, I don’t need to know. God is good (all the time), and His will is perfect. It is I who am flawed, and the better my eyesight becomes, the deeper I perceive the cracked, sinful condition of my heart.

Instead of hounding a perfect God to explain Himself to a sinful man, I should be fishing faithfully for sinful men to proclaim to them a perfect God.

 

I Forgot About God

Yesterday, I nearly forgot about God. To make it worse, yesterday was a Sunday.

It seems unlikely that, on the Lord’s Day of all days, I would forget
about the Lord as I prepared to serve Him and worship Him. But here’s
how it nearly happened.

I had prepared my Bible study lesson earlier in the week like I
usually do. On Sunday morning, I arrived at the church early enough to
print out the lesson for class. That’s when the warfare hit. The
website that hosts all of my online documents was down, and so I
couldn’t access my notes for teaching, nor the note sheets for the
students.

Immediately, my mind engaged its Tech Support Troubleshooting
procedures. I ran through all the protocols for “fixing the Internet”
that I’ve learned from working two decades in the tech industry. All
of my efforts led to nothing. The screen just showed an error,
suggesting that I try again later. The computer was calm, but I had
become a sweating, panicking mess.

I decided to take the computer’s advice. I left the office and went to
practice the worship songs with the Praise Team. Before we began, we
were prompted to mention anything on our hearts that we felt needed to
be voiced in prayer. That’s when the conviction hit me square in the
chest.

“Brent,” I said ashamedly to my own soul, “you forgot about God.”

I mentioned the technical struggles I was having to the rest of the
group. As we prayed, I admitted to God that I was striving within my
own wisdom, without even asking Him to be a part of this service I was
offering to Him. I confessed that when I ran into a trial, a bit of
warfare, He wasn’t even on my troubleshooting list, when He should
have been step number one.

But God is good, all the time. After that prayer, we offered some
sweet worship to Him in that brief rehearsal time. And afterwards, my
Internet issues had been resolved. I printed my notes and my handouts
and headed to the classroom just in time.

Yesterday, I nearly forgot about God.

But thankfully He is faithful and never forgets about me. Yesterday,
my Great Shepherd led me into a time of prayer and a time of
reflection upon His faithful character. As the psalmist put it:

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
―Psalm 46:10