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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Have You Forgiven God?


            Life doesn’t turn out the way we planned, that’s a fact.  And somebody needs to be held responsible.  A lot of people put it at the feet of God. 
It is easy to do when things outside of our control impact our life.  Natural disasters (the insurance industry used to call them “Acts of God”), illness, disease, and crime can all be attributed to God’s direct responsibility or his negligence.  Either way, God’s the one who we hold accountable.
The bad, stupid or wrong things we do are a little harder to pin on God but we find a way to do it.  God should have intervened, he should have stopped us, he should have sent someone to direct us otherwise.  God should have…  God is responsible.  It’s God’s fault.  Since God is responsible for the misery of the world and the misery of our lives, it is appropriate to ask, “Have you forgiven God?
A number of years ago Gene Edwards wrote a small book about John the Baptist called “The Prisoner In The Third Cell.  The big idea of the book has stuck with me like few have.  Edwards makes the point that John did everything right.  He served Jesus faithfully.  He spoke boldly.  He was humble and faithfully pointed people to Jesus.  And they chopped his head off.  He is not the God of your expectations.  This is Edwards point.
Nothing reminds us of this truth more than when life goes sideways on us.  The pain is real.  The disappointment, anger and frustration are overwhelming.  The anger is consuming because God did not meet our expectations.  Therefore God is responsible and we need to forgive God.  Unless… our expectations are wrong.
Where did you get your expectations about what God is and isn’t supposed to do?  How have your expectations of how life is supposed to work come about?  If you are holding God responsible for any and every bad thing that ever happens in the world and your life you surely didn’t get your expectations from the Bible.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus~ (John 16:33)
God is not seeking our forgiveness but he is longing for our confession.  Confessing to God we are hurting, disappointed, frustrated, lonely, sad and depressed is to yield to him.  Confession is accepting the truth that God is God and you are not.  It is putting things back in right order.  It is, according to Jesus, the path to peace even in the midst of tribulation.
God is all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing.  He doesn’t need to repent to you or me about anything.  But because he is all-powerful and all-good he reaches down into our pain with a hand of compassion and whispers gently in our ear, “I’m so sorry you are in pain.  Let me hold you until we get home.”
He is not the God of your expectations.  And that is a good thing.

Peace and grace,

David

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