Friday, December 11, 2015

No for Now

 One area that I think non-followers, and even a lot of followers, like to throw around in anger and hurt with God is that He doesn't answer them in a way they want. He doesn't remove the pain. He doesn't fix the difficult situation. He doesn't heal. Ultimately, God has answered with a "no." 

 God has every right to say no or yes. That right is part of His sovereignty. Why He answers the way He does is from His holiness and righteousness. If we continue to cultivate anger because of His answer, we must think we have something in us that trumps His sovereignty, holiness, and righteousness. Seems ridiculous. 

 Sometimes I find myself upset that God has said no to me but then I realize that He is on the other side of the situation. He sees the big picture and therefore the purpose of why things are happening and it is for His glory. 

 Wouldn't it be great if I could just keep that in my mind? But, nooooo.

 Today I woke up whining to God that I was tired and hurt and not sure I could keep going. It had been a hard week of doctor appointments, disagreements, and court that turned ugly and next week, if God sees fit to keep me here, promises more of the same. So, I stood in the bathroom in my jammies, uncombed hair, un-brushed teeth arguing with God why I should not be where I am. Pure ugly. 

 Graciously, God reminded me that sometimes His no is momentary. Where we are now is not where we will be when we die. What is happening right now will end and we will have something so much better when He takes us to the place He has prepared for us. That's a promise if we are in Christ. 

 We do not need to whine or keep asking. He removes death, He wipes away the tears, He takes away reproach. It just may not be today or tomorrow. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

I Haven't Gotten What I Deserve

 You heard me. All these years and after all I have done, I have not gotten anything even close to what I deserve. I could stamp my foot or throw a fit and demand my right to what I am owed...

 ...but that would be foolish. And it is not just because it is childish of me but it would be ridiculous. Nowadays it is a commonplace attitude that people walk around with a sense of entitlement thinking they deserve something. 

 What have any of us done or what do any of us deserve? We definitely do deserve something. 

 I am glad, no, thankful that I have not even gotten close to what I deserve. 

 Growing up was hard and anger ate at me because life seemed unfair and I was right. It was unfair but not in the way I imagined. 

 When a righteous, holy and just God looks at the world and does not completely wipe it out, none of us have gotten what we deserve. When He allows us to live and breathe and have family, He exacts an abundant amount of mercy. It is sort of like a convicted killer sentenced to death and he is not put in jail. Not only is he not put in jail but he is given the freedom to walk around and choose to continue doing what he was doing. 

 Shaking my fist at God as a teenager and saying that I hate Him was more than enough to deserve His wrath but when I set out to actively pursue anything that He defined as sin, I was knowingly seeking His punishment. But God did not destroy me and not only did He not give me what I deserve, He worked in my life to save me. How many of us would pursue the murderer of someone we love and make them part of our family? It is kind of what God did but on a much larger scale because this criminal continued and, even still today, continues to commit crimes of sin. Instead of reaping the wrath of God that I am clearly owed, He made me His own. He cleaned me up, He gave me new life and purpose. 

 On top of that, I see that He has given me an amazing group of brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a family that is ever growing and so beneficial to my spiritual growth. He has given me opportunities to love others and resources to use when that love needs to be displayed in a provisional way. He has given me eyes to see that people, no matter their color or culture, are His creation made in His image with a soul. 

 That last one is important because although God has withheld doling out justice, it is coming. For now, we can choose to live however we like (earthly consequences and all) but a time is coming that we will reap what we deserve unless we stand redeemed in Christ. This is mind-boggling. God will not punish one in Christ no matter because God the Son took the punishment on Himself??? It's true. 

 "Yes God, I am a murderer, a liar, a thief, and more but Christ has taken my penalty and I am free." There is not one single thing I need to do except turn to Christ and even that is a work that God does. My brain still has a hard time wrapping itself around why God would do that but I most certainly want to make sure other souls know that He did and that they have a chance to not get what they deserve. 

 This is why Christians celebrate Christmas. Jesus, Lord and Savior, operates according to His plan of love, grace, and obedience. Soooo...why did we invent the idea of Santa who operates according to our works???? I'll pass, not getting what I deserve is much better.