If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…?
(note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).
Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.
Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?
Wouldn’t we just be slaves or robots who only loved because we were forced or programmed to? That’s not real Love at all.
The freedom God gives is hard to fathom, even in most church settings, so here are three bible verses that glimpse God’s outrageous respect and love for us, demonstrated by this crazy and painful gift we call Free Will.
- “Love doesn’t insist on it’s Own Way” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
I know the word Love has lost its meaning, but there remains an epic definition in a small chapter of the bible (see pic below). Before I unpack, please consider: “God is Love” (1 John 4), so this means everywhere we see “love” we could plug in “God” and get greater insight into His Heart and Character.
So look at the verse again: Love, or, God, does not seek her own way… To me this reads: God bends. Just ask any parent who knows they need to turn left but the child insists right. A parent who has the time might turn right to let the child see for himself…
Sure life isn’t simple left and right turns–our actions and choices can devastate others. But don’t forget, God doesn’t want us to even scrape our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:12), so how much less the atrocities we perpetrate against one another?
God is Love, but Love never forces a hand….
- “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated.. “ (James 3:17)
Wisdom again refers to God, and the NIV version of “easy to be entreated” is “Submissive.”
The All-Powerful, All-Present God? Submissive? Well, flash to Jesus on his knees washing dirty feet– the modern day equivalent of shoe shining on the street– and we’ve got to acknowledge a part of God that is so humble and tender…
But who has God ever been submissive to?
You. Me. Us…
My head spins and heart soars for a moment on the reality of this freedom, but then crashes on the gravity of it. Is there really a part of God that is submissive? Again, ask any parent….
Come on kids, Let’s go! …. No Mom, 2 more minutes please??!…. Ok…..
- “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done..” – Jesus teaching people to pray
Why on earth would Jesus ask for people to pray for God’s Will if that’s all we see anyway? The truth is that’s NOT what we see happening. No one can tell me the rape of children, the torture of animals, sickness, hunger, poverty, or every evil, greedy plotting is God’s Will.
Praying for God’s Will is like sounding a cry for help. Just like any child who repeatedly refused parental assistance because they wanted to learn it/do it/go through it on their own.
Dad, we need help!!
So how do troubles and triumphs in the world look now? When we see Love in action, we glimpse God (eg 1 John 4:16) and when we see hatred or oppression, even if it comes from”Christians” or “church,” we witness something else.
But don’t be discouraged or lose hope, even if it seems life (on the global scale or in our own home) is in despair. Despite our collective freedom to destroy, we must never forget the Love that surrounds us (Acts 17:28), not dissimilar to a baby surrounded in a Mother’s womb while being a totally separate entity. And as much as Love bends, even past the point of (heart)breaking, it’s actually the strongest force in the Universe.
And Never Fails.
So remember those kids sitting in the back of the car, who screamed at Mom to go right and started fighting with their baby brother, taking his stuff and then pushing, hurting him, making him cry? You better believe Mom was NEVER happy about ANY of that and eventually she’ll stop the car and straighten things out! On a Global Scale.
Because the same Love that lets things go so long, is a Love that eventually says ENOUGH.
We really are a Free people. But let’s use our
freedom gift wisely.
There are more verses I could share here, including:
-‘pray the Lord of the harvest to send out the laborers..’ (Mat.9:38) (God doesn’t force people to help him? He just wants it from a willing heart?..)
-‘they were doing things I never even thought of’- God (Jeremiah 32:35) (People can do things God never “thought” of??! I almost didn’t believe this concept until I experienced it myself (post coming)).
–‘Do not grieve the Spirit..’ (Eph 4:30) (Uh, the Spirit that is all Joy can be grieved? By me??)
-‘Do not quench the Spirit..’ (1 Thes 5:19) (Uh, the Spirit, aka the Holy Spirit, with All Power in the World can be quenched? As in shut down? By Me?! #OMG)
..but this stuff is too precious, humbling, and mind boggling for me…
More on your Freedom in/with God? Check: