It has been there from the very beginning. The choice to obey or disobey God. Free will.
Doubting the goodness of God leads to disobedience. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Really? Look around you. Turn on the news. Walk out your front door. Is that what you see? God’s goodness?
Yes it is.
I’ve been struggling these past few weeks (or actually years) to fully grasp how Christian’s reconcile God’s goodness with the evil we live with daily. Some call this mental gymnastics and foolishness. God calls this redemption.
He created this world with Good and Evil in it. And then he placed mankind in its midst and allowed us to choose. We could trust and obey God or distrust and disobey Him. He let us choose. We failed the test. The consequences were death, just as He forewarned them it would be. Thereafter every human is born into death. That is what this life is. Yet God still loves us. His desire is to have an intimate relationship with Him; for us to trust and obey Him. So He created the reconciliation process through which we can be restored and reconciled out of this evil back into His goodness.
I wrestled with this because my heart is already living in God’s kingdom, but my body is stuck here in the death and evil in this broken world. I see God’s goodness so clearly that the evil is a horrific contrast to His nature. Cain murdered Able and God protected Cain? Why? Why does He allow it to continue? Why does He not protect the innocent?
God sent His only son as a sacrifice and payment for our sins – all of our sins; for the masked killer of James Foley, for the sexual abuser of the little child, for the murderers, mamers, abusers, liars, the human traffickers, and the thieves. Jesus died for my rebelliousness, my lies, and my shortcomings. He loved me enough to rescue me from myself. The real tragedy is that not everyone accepts or wants what God has offered to them for redemption.
Back in the days of Noah, God did intervene. There was only one righteous man – everyone else was wicked. God killed them all, and He promised to never do that again. The end times are described for us in God’s Holy Bible. We must be aware.
When I watch the news and see all of the religious strife, hate, anger and senseless loss of life, I remember that they/we all need Jesus. We need Jesus in order to be freed from the bondage of our own sins, but also from the bondage that results from the sins that others commit against us. We need His life, the life that He freely laid down and offers to us, in order to offer forgiveness and to be healed.
I wish often times that Eve had not taken that bite or that Adam had intervened. Why did God have to put that darn tree there to begin with!? But God was the creator, not me. That was His design, His way. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways higher than our ways. Praise His holy name! Faith often requires faith – simple trust in the only one who is trustworthy! This life is not all that there is! (Can I get a hallelujah?)
God chose to put the tree there, just as He chose to place me into this country, at this time, for His purposes. He knew before He created me what I would choose and He has purpose for me (and all who believe and follow Jesus) to be a light to this dark world. So go shine your light today. Pray for those young men and women caught up in the lies of ISIS that just as God changed the heart of a persecutionist named Paul, He will change their hearts and intervene in their lives so that they will come to accept their only method of reconciliation – the one true God and His lamb, Jesus Christ. Pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ can offer forgiveness to those who are oppressing and harming them. Pray that God will pour out His Spirit of hope and encouragement for them in their time of need.
God is good all the time. You get to choose. What do you see?
Be encouraged. Press on!