Monday, October 05, 2009

God's Voice, Pt. 2

As this theme has circulated in my thoughts, I've realized that God has spoken to me more times than I had originally thought. I hope I can remember them all.

Just as the Israelites chose to remember God's provision for them at Passover, I believe strongly in remembering the times God has intervened in my life. It strengthens my faith to remember the times God has clearly revealed Himself. I believe it helps others as well.

I finally got to go to Youth camp after graduating from high school. I had never gone before, primarily because Summer Fine Arts Camp coincided with the week of camp. I loved Summer Fine Arts Camp! I got to sing, play my clarinet, act, dance, paint for a whole month!!! So, even though I was jealous that Beth went to youth camp and came back all pumped up for God, I had continued to choose SFAC over youth camp.

Until my last year.

Thank you God! I'm so glad that you made it possible for me to go to youth camp that last year.

Even though God had spoken a message of love and faithfulness over me, I still questioned His goodness and absolute power. My biggest struggle with God was still this: How could a God of love, joy and goodness allow the evil that exists in this world? Unless He wasn't powerful & couldn't change things?
Every morning after breakfast our director would send us out with our journals and some scripture. Since the camp is out in the middle of nowhere (outside of Delta Junction, Alaska), there was plenty of woods for us to each find a very alone spot.

On Wednesday or Thursday of that week, I found a spot by myself on a fallen log. I read my verses, and started journaling. I don't remember my topic, but I do remember asking God to please explain...

I poured out my heart to Him. I focused on the problem of evil and suffering in the world. How could He allow the atrocities I had witnessed, much less the horrors I had only heard of???

And He answered me.

I looked up.
And a beautiful butterfly landed close to me.
His words were so clear, so simple.
"I am all that is lovely, good, right and beautiful in the world."
It may not sound like a direct answer, but to me it was... I knew from His words that He despised and abhorred evil as much as I did. I knew that the evil in the world was not His plan.

While His message to me still didn't explain why so much evil was on the earth, it did let me know that evil was not His plan. That He was as aware of it as I was, and that He hated it more than I could imagine.

At seminary in Fort Worth I had the opportunity to take a class called "The Problem of Evil and Suffering". I read the writings of philosophers and theologians much more intelligent and learned than I will ever be. I wrote about the subject, and thought about it, and wrestled with God.

After all this, I'm still not 100% satisfied with God's choices, but I know these things:

1. God hates evil & sin. He abhors evil. He hates sin because He knows how much it destroys us.

2. God loves us, each and every one. He loves us so much that it's impossible to put it into words. He sees us each as a precious child with infinite potential, and He has a beautiful song for each of us...

3. In fact, He loves us so much that He gave us free will. Even though He knew we would choose to walk away from His love. Even though He knew we would choose to self-destruct, and cut ourselves off from His love.

4. He loves us so much that He believed it would be better for us to choose to follow Him, rather than create us without the choice to love Him back. He could have made us unable to choose, capable of only obeying Him.

5. I believe that He is good and loving and pure and right. And I am choosing to trust that His way is best.

Honestly, there are times when I think it would be better if He had made us incapable of doing wrong. Then we couldn't hurt each other. I watch the news and see the cruelty & horror we are capable of doing and I think He should have made us obedient slaves.

But God lives beyond time, and knows the future & the past. He knows the infinite possibilities, and He believes it would be better for us to to choose. So I will trust that He knows what is best, even when I am not sure. I trust that His ways are best.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8


becca said...

The first butterfly pic is from my husband & the second is from my sister. I've got some good ones myself, but not on digital, and I'm still struggling with the scanner.

B & B said...

i struggled with this one, too. and came up with pretty much the same answer. God is all that is good and right. satan is all that is evil and wrong. and it's *his* nastiness that fills this world with despair.