Hmm…judging God…there’s an interesting concept. I wouldn’t be surprised if that title may have taken you aback when you read it. Obviously, it is not our role to judge God—He alone is judge.
But in reality, we do judge God all the time. And those judgments are often the root of many of our problems.
There are objectively good things that happen in life…meeting the love of your life, the birth of a child, a job promotion…and objectively bad things—an untimely death, a car accident, burglary, rape, or murder. And there is a God who ordains the former and allows the latter. The existence of evil is the most compelling argument advanced against Christianity. How can God allow such evil events to befall the innocent? It’s the mystery of free will.
Now faced with this conundrum we have a choice—to judge God based on the circumstances of our lives or of the world, or to judge those circumstances based on what we know and believe (or profess to believe) about God. To believe He doesn’t care, that He is punishing you or that He can’t stop evil, is to limit God and cause yourself needless suffering and grief.
Jesus crucified demonstrates the ultimate paradox—a God who uses evil for good. A God who defeats death with death and gives life. A God whose Mercy is manifested through misery.
As we approach Thanksgiving, it’s customary to take stock of your blessings, to list those things you are truly thankful for. Obviously, a good idea. I recommend it.
But this year, I’d like to tweak that suggestion. Thank God also for your challenges. Thank Him for those tough times and the reverses of fortune He may have allowed in your life either in the past or right now. Instead of viewing God through the lens of your misfortunes and judging Him, judge your life through the lens of His Mercy and Omnipotence. In every challenge is the seed of opportunity and triumph. The greatest progress is usually made in response to difficulty. Great figures in history and the saints in heaven are forged in the crucible of suffering. God will never allow evil to triumph over good. He will never be defeated in His Mercy. He will never be outdone in generosity.
But let me say this clearly too—keep praying. Keep making your heart and requests known to God. It’s okay to ask Him to lift your suffering, to lighten your burdens. Don’t look for suffering. That’s not the goal—it’s the joy He has in store for you that’s the goal. Suffering is often the means He allows in order to get you there. Not trusting God, doubting His love for you only weighs you down further. Step out in faith in the midst of whatever storms you find yourself and trust. When you do, He opens the floodgates of grace. He will uphold you. He will send His Holy Spirit to inspire and console you. Trust. He’s got this.
Wishing you a most blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
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