I was listening to the radio this morning and they were reading the verse about how God takes care of us...because we are his highest creation and if he takes care of the birds of the air, won't he take care of us? They were discussing this and why we have such a hard time believing that God truly will take care of us. I wanted to call in and say...DUH...is it not obvious why we have a problem resting in God taking care of us. Look around...the less fortunate ones that have health issues, financial difficulties, or accidents that they had nothing to do with, necessarily, Children that are abused, taken advantage of, hurt by some offender, or killed by some disease, or some inhuman being...those things do not fit our idea of being well taken care of, now do they? The hurt and pain in the world do not translate into "care-taking" by anyone's definition. Only as we can trust God to take care of us amidst these things, can we lay back in his arms and allow him to carry us through them. Sometimes that's a tall order. But a view to a different perspective might be in order. We are looking from our earthly view. God is looking long-term and he will sacrifice everything to bring us through the dark valley to grow into who He designed us to be. Larry Crabb suggests it is first-order desire vs second-order desires. Sometimes we do not even know we have a second-order desire. . . one that God is in charge of to mold us to be the person He created us to be. God's view is looking through a different lens with a view to maturity, trust, and faith, not a view of necessarily getting what we want.
I can understand why people blame God. I always figured it was because that is the way Satan works.... you know. Just the way it is. The same reason people defame the name of Jesus rather than Buddha, or Mohammad...etc. It is just the way Satan works. But I have come to think it is far more than that. We subconsciously carry an attitude that bad, really, really bad things should not happen to us. Like Gene losing his leg in Vietnam, or my sister getting burned at the age of three and spending a year in John Sealy Hospital, or a gazillion other things. People, in general, have an unspoken, unrealized thought that really big catastrophes are more than we deserve. They conclude (as Gene did) that God was indeed big enough to stop, reverse, fix, whatever happened, based on his supposed love for us and his power...so if he is not intervening.... then he must not really love us, doesn't care and isn't involved....and some go so far as to claim, He doesn't even exist.
I remember having conversations with Gene about his struggles in trying to make sense of all the pain and horror of Vietnam and the things that happened there. He wondered where was God through all of that and why didn’t God protect him and a lot of others. When we go through those things, we become fearful, that other horrible things are going to happen to us. We enter a waiting game, just waiting for "the next shoe to drop." Things that we will have no control over that will deeply hurt and completely unravel us. When they do, fear becomes a way of life and is transferred to our adult life in our relationships with God and with others. Fear. An emotion that is a God-given productive emotion (fight or flight) to help us flee dangerous things, and to motivate us to do good things, but it is typically used improperly and becomes the very emotion that causes extreme relational issues with everyone, most of all those closest to us.
We need to get past the fear, move toward God, and renew our thinking about God. We think we must look after ourselves, because no one in the past has looked after us, including God, so we become controlling, pushing the boundaries in everyone else’s life, or settling down into a defeatist, victim attitude and mindset that I am powerless and can’t change anything. Fear paralyzes.
I am sitting here listening to James Dobson, interview missionaries from Africa who have watched people being raped, butchered, tortured, and persecuted for their faith. They accepted Jesus as their Savior, knowing that if they do, and embrace the Christian faith, and are found out, they will possibly be tortured, and killed along with their children because they have turned from their "home" faith and accepted Christianity. They are saying that these people know what they face and would be left alone to live their lives naturally if they did not become Christians, but they also know they lose eternity...so they sacrifice their very lives for believing in Jesus. In anyone's book, how does that translate into God taking care of us? Even the disciples were murdered, crucified, and sawn in two. This requires a complete change in the way we think. We must transform our minds to look at things from God's perspective. We must have a paradigm shift. That is not an easy thing to do, nor an easy way to live, and perhaps even impossible at times, especially for those who have never touched the hem of his garment. For those that have and know that they know Jesus, like the missionaries I spoke of, are willing to sacrifice all to spend eternity with him, free from the ravages of this world. God does not protect us from everything. He only promises to protect us from the evil one and bring us into His heavenly mansion prepared for us through Jesus' work on the cross. We are fully, completely, and totally protected from the end result of Satan's rule when we commit, turn over, yield our lives totally to Him. God does not always, protect, rescue, deliver us out of our difficulties. Difficult things happen, sometimes through simply being alive on a planet cursed from the Fall. How does someone forgive an abusive parent or someone who murdered or raped their family member? It is a supernatural visit of the Holy Spirit by embracing the truth of the second-order desire, rather than our own first-order desire and our way of doing things. Where are you in your journey of trusting? Where are you in your journey of exchanging your own selfish second-order desire for God's first-order desire?
I am missing my beautiful sister, Linda, who recently moved to her Mansion in the Sky. She spent years being abused, mistreated, and taken advantage of by some of those closest to her. Her greatest attribute was her giving, and selfless, energy to love and help those who needed help. It truly took little to put a smile on her face. Someone said of her, she loved everyone unconditionally no matter who they were or what they had done. Others said she would have given the shirt off her back to someone if they needed it. This greatest attribute turned out to be her greatest weakness, for she was hurt repeatedly by those she tried to help, and yet she continued to love. She was a treasure and I have a lot to learn in this regard. On February 13th she received her reward and she will throw that crown of jewels at the feet of Jesus. I miss her. I miss her a lot. One thing I will certainly miss is when I write something and post it on my blog, I could always count her profuse enjoyment of reading it and telling me how much she loved me. Take time to love, deeply, with a view to eternity while time is on your side. Thank you, Jesus, for the deep lessons learned through this difficult and painful journey and the time to live it out this side of heaven. Amen.
P.S. Take note: My other four precious and beautiful sisters, I love you beyond what words can express.