By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,
You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea.
~ Psalm 65:5
I was recently told my God is a fairy tale God, a made up figure, powerless, non-existent. It's not the first time I've heard that nor will it be the last. Perhaps you've heard the great Creator of heaven and earth referred to as One who has no power to thwart evil or worse yet, doesn't care. Many men utter such foolish words as these, challenging the Sovereign Potentate, who could snuff out their existence in a breath. Yet God in mercy stays His Omnipotent hand. Such are the words of men without faith in their Creator. Brash men. Men who mouth great blasphemous accusations against the Mighty One. They may claim to have no faith in God, any god, but in reality they have great faith in a false god, a god of their own choosing, a god of their own making.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. ~ Romans 1:21–23
I'd like to tell you about this great and marvelous God who is mighty and wonderful. This God who stoops down to His creation and makes Himself known in awesome deeds. The God in whom His people can put their trust, who can rest every ounce of weight, and then some, upon the strong and mighty shoulders of our all powerful, all knowing, faithful Savior, our Lord, who leads us all the way from Calvary to glory.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man. ~ Psalm 118:8
Life is full of struggles. Life is full of turmoil. Life is full of threats. Life is full of disappointments. Life is no picnic. It was never meant to be a bed of roses yet everyone is chasing that bed only to find it the most elusive prize on planet earth. What we have found instead is that the roses keeps moving and all we're stuck with are great big fields of manure. We can view that manure two ways.
One; it stinks and it's awful. Or two; it is the very foundation upon which we will grow.
For some reason we've bit the hook that life is about liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that it's all about us, our comfort, our pleasures, our success. Isn't that what every politician that has come down the pike has sold us? Isn't it the very reason we'll smile at our neighbor and then do our dead level best to cut to the front of the line to get the best seat or jump in that lane that contains just enough space for a Smart car or wiggle our way into the shortest line at the market or gripe and complain at the person in front of us using, of all things, cash!......slowing us down making us miss the start of the latest American Idol droolfest?
Sadly, for many professing Christians this is the norm. Why? For one, we are selfish people, desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) Another is that the purveyors of a false gospel have infiltrated the church and culture at large and taught you from closed bibles that its all about you. On occasion when their bible is open they twist and contort, wrenching verses from their context, tricking you into believing they mean something entirely different than what God intended. Telling you God created you and sent His Son to die for you, for your pleasures, to spend on your desires. Telling you He has plans for good and not for evil. Telling you, you!, that if you humble yourself and pray He will bless you. Telling you that every single person was designed for excellence and you must be ambitious, falsely attributing prayers of blessing and enlarging to suit mans need for self love. He is your personal genie here at your beck and call. Oh what a little misplaced truth does to a culture seeking it's own good and completely ignoring God's glory!
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. ~ James 4:1–3
So what can we expect? And I speak to Christians here. (Those who have not placed their faith in Christ, not repented of their sins, not zealously begun to follow Christ in full obedience. Those can expect wrath. Those can expect their best life now but their worst hell later.) We can expect tribulation. We can expect trial. We can expect sadness. Yet in the midst of all these we can expect fullness of joy.
"In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33b
...even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. ~ 1 Peter 1:6
Jesus promised that His people will have tribulation. If any man (or woman) stands behind a pulpit or wears a path in front of one and tells you otherwise, whether that book is open or laying closed behind him, he (or she) is selling you a bill of goods that is hotter than the hottest coal from the pit of hell. Trials and tribulations are all over the New Testament. The very God who wrote it Himself said so as evidenced by the one verse above. So should we worry about troubles, avoid troubles? No! We should expect them. We should welcome them! Because they are the very furnace of the Master's refining fire in order to purify His people. So it makes perfect sense that we can take courage and rest assured that we will, not we might, not we hope to, WE WILL overcome because He has overcome and He does not leave us alone in tribulation. He is the One who puts us in tribulation........ for our good and His glory!
Further the Apostle Peter told us we would be distressed. It is necessary, very necessary! But why? That the testing of your faith, being more precious than gold would result in the salvation of our souls. That while we do not see Him we believe and possess inexpressible joy with full glory. (1 Peter 1:7-10) The Lord's brother tells us that we can know
that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:3–4
When our faith is tested by trials, by difficulties, it for the God ordained purpose of making us more like Him and fit for heaven.
We can have fullness of joy because in the midst we are never left alone, never forsaken. (Heb 13:5) We have an inheritance that will never fade away, reserved in heaven for us. (1 Peter 1:4-5) We know that God is working in us to will and to do His good pleasure. (Phi 2:13) He is perfecting us. He is confirming us. He is strengthening us. He is establishing us. (1 Peter 5:10) He will do it, for He is faithful! (1 Thes 5:24)
He actually ordains our entire life. Whoa there buddy! Wait a minute! That's going too far, just too, too far! What am I some kind of robot? Oh foolish man, why dost thou fight against your Maker? He gives us responsibility yet in His unfathomable Omnipotence and Omniscience He fashions our life in just the perfect way where we still make choices and He creates trials for our good. Oh, it may not seem good. It may appear to our finite minds to be quite bad, quite unpleasant. Yet to the man who trusts in this Holy Sovereign God His paths lead us to the peacable fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11), to a peace that passes understanding. Trusting a Sovereign God is the only way we can rightly deal with the life that races towards us. Knowing that He is control for our good (Romans 8:28) gives us such peace because we know that we know that we know that He is Holy and Just and Good. That He is for us and not against us. (Romans 8:31)
I set out to tell you of this great and mighty God, this awesome Creator, Wonderful Savior, Great High Priest. I got a little sidetracked and only touched the surface. You may be asking, yea, even shouting, 'who are you to tell me my struggles are God ordained and a walk in the park?' Oh, just a guy who has walked some dark valleys myself and fought some mighty foes but that is a story for another time.
I come back to the beginning and I tell you with certainty that if you are like the man who mocked and laughed at my God, I tell you with great earnest that you, my friend, are the one living in a fairy tale. For your god is powerless to help yet mighty in damning you to an eternity of sorrow and regret that you chose to caricature the True and Living One with false notions. Flee such foolish imaginations while you can and embrace the Sovereign King.
He must increase