This post was birthed from conversations with some of my Agnostic and Non-Religious friends. I have to admit that I do not have many Atheist friends. I believe it has something to do with the fact that I don’t believe in Atheism, which makes them mad and I find this hilariously ironic.
These friends have mentioned on many an occasion that they don’t understand how heartache and pain can be a part of God’s plan for our lives. I don’t claim to have the answers, but I can share a bit of what I have found along my own journey.
If you are like me, you have heard the phrase “Father God” many a time from the pulpit, in a prayer or in a Bible study book. We love to call God our Father, but we don’t like for Him to act like one, do we? In adolescence we grow to dislike our fathers because they are often the symbol of discipline in our lives. They punish us when we do something that is not in our best interest, they give us chores to teach us about responsibility, they give us boundaries in terms of activities and amount of time spent with friends, they may monitor what we eat, how much we study and what television shows we watch. Of course, as we enter adulthood and become parents ourselves, we realize that all of those things our fathers did that annoyed or infuriated us were only meant to protect us and to keep us on a path that would lead to personal success.
Since God made man in His image, not a perfect image, but still in His image…God is our heavenly Father. There are times in our lives when He knows that it is better to let us learn on our own rather than explicitly telling us something just like our own earthly parents have done. A non-religious lady I will not name recently shared that she did not understand why God did not answer her cries for help on an important business decision where she and her husband ended bottom up thanks to a shrewd and not absolutely legal real estate agent. She recalls driving an hour to see this building in the hot summer heat of southern Florida. She asked God repeatedly something along the lines of “I know I don’t talk to You often, but if You are there and if You are listening and if You are God…I really need You to help us know if we should move on this property and if we should do business with this man.” A long story made short, she and her husband did business with this man without seeing the contract and paid for it dearly. Could God have made her feel uneasy? Yes, but she will never do any sort of business deal again with not only seeing the contract herself, but having it looked over by a trusted attorney. In my view, she learned a very valuable lesson by a God who was doing nothing more than being a Father to her and her husband. While they did loose quite a bit of money, they did not loose everything and they rebounded shortly after much smarter than they started out.
Other times God acts like God and He provides opportunities for us to make u-turns in order to get off the wrong road we are on. I can recall a moment in time when I was bound and determined to do something I whole heartedly regret involving myself and a man that was not my own. On the way to dinner that evening, I literally hit two roadblocks and a detour and I have to admit that the thought that God was trying to stop me did enter my mind. Unfortunately, I did not listen.
While both of these scenarios involve God allowing our misdirection or sin to culminate in unwelcome consequences, what they do not do is make us pay the ultimate price. God in His loving kindness brought His own Son to earth for the purpose of taking on all of the earth’s sin. God’s Son, whom I call Yeshua, came to earth to take on my sin and your sin so that we do not have to pay the ultimate consequence for our misguided actions, which is eternal death. Yes, there are bad things in this world and yes, we do experience heartache, but we experience these things not because God designed them, but because sin is active in our world. How glorious it will be to experience an earth with no tears! Instead of giving us what we actually deserve God offers us the ultimate reward and all we have to do is accept it.