Of course, after the previous post, you may be thinking, “I’m not Muslim,” so my view of God is just fine. While I hope so, I wanna push back. Do you know God? And by KNOW, I don’t mean a superficial, Sunday school awareness of a few stories from the Bible. It’s not a “I grew up in a Christian family” type of faith. Those kinds of faith are washed away when suffering comes, like a house built on sand.
And this is why I think this is SO SO SO important. If our faith isn’t truly our own OR if it’s inaccurate, then when sin prevails, when suffering comes, when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, what do we do? What happens when shallow faith meets deep suffering?
What happens if deep down we don’t believe that God is 100% good. If we think he’s a “contract God,” who will only be good to us if we’ve first satisfied his demands. If we wake up in the morning and think, “I better have a quiet time and pray or God won’t be pleased with me.” Friends, that’s not the Gospel. That’s not Christianity. That’s not our God.
And, when suffering comes, it’s normal to hear statements/questions like, “If God were really loving, this wouldn’t have happened.” OR “What kind of God would do this, allow this?” Or as Woody Allen said, “If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.” Do you see it: The question at the center of each of these statements is “what is God like?”
And for Christians, maybe we haven’t walked away from the faith, but maybe we’ve just decided to partition our lives. What I mean is that we still believe in God, but we’ve made sure to guard the precious things in our lives from Him…because we’re just not sure we can trust him with our kids, our work, our calling, our finances, our ___________. And I think there are probably a lot of us here today living in that reality.
We say, “I just can’t handle it if that happens again. I can’t do that again. Please, not again… please.” And at that point, God isn’t even in our thoughts…at that point, he’s somewhere, we still believe, but we almost dare not ask again where He fits in all this. That feels like it would just make it all harder, it would hurt just a little bit more…This is the danger of Shallow Faith colliding with Deep Suffering.
Can we really say with the hymnist, “…when all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay”? I think this is a question with eternal ramification and for some of us, it’s a life-and-death issue.
Do you remember that our view of God will determine our life with Him? It will shape our faith, our prayers, our mission, our view of the Bible, our view of the Church. If we Christians are walking about with this amount of ambiguity about the character and goodness of God, then weep for the world! Weep for the Church! What a sad situation we find ourselves in. It must change. In the next post, we’ll turn out eyes to the one, true and living God, and it WILL make all the difference.
What about you? In the comments below, please share where you’re at with God.