So I've been feeling quite restless lately. Not just physically restless, but spiritually as well. I don't know how else to describe it, it has just been a constant feeling as if I need to find out more about God & also that I need to be going for 5 mile runs so I have alone time to think about everything I'm learning! Lol!
But honestly, I've had a lot to sort out since last time I posted. For those of you that don't know me terribly well; I'm the kind of person that always needs to know 'why' I am doing something. I really had a challenge to my faith last weekend & not in the form that you would normally suspect. The challenge came while I was reading a book about a legendary missionary named Adoniram Judson. I'm sure many of you have heard about him. For those of you that haven't, I'll give you a brief description of this amazing guy:
He was born & raised in the home of a Pastor but he did not come to know Christ as his Savior until he was around twenty years old. When he did get saved he was absolutely on fire for God. He determined to go where no white-believer had ever gone before & he & his wife went to Burma, Asia. To make an incredible (but long) story short; he had a very rough time on the field. He went six years before he saw a single convert, he spent 20 months in a torture prison, three of his wives & several of his children died on the mission field, & he endured severe problems with his health for his entire life.
This is when I started questioning; Why would God let this happen to a man who was so clearly dedicated to furthering the Gospel? Yes, in spite of all of these trials he eventually saw thousands of Burmese people come to know the Lord & he translated the entire Bible into a language that had previously not even had a genuine book in print. But couldn't he have done even more for the cause of Christ if he had not been afflicted with so much suffering? Why would God allow such harm to come to a man that loved Him so dearly? Why do I love & serve a God that would let this happen?
Wow. I didn't even know where that thought came from. I'm at a Bible college, determined to serve God with my life & here I am questioning why I even love him? This is insane to me. As 1 Corinthians 10:12 says "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." Despite the questions that were running through my head, I know that the Word of God is true, & I have experienced the love of God so clearly in my life that I know NOTHING can come between me & the love of my Heavenly Father. But the questions were still there. Why? So I prayed about it, & as He has promised to do, God gave me peace & assurance.
God loves every person on this planet so much that He will do anything it takes to bring as many people as possible out from the bondage of their sin & into His love & salvation. No, we will never know the exact reason behind everything God does in this lifetime. We have to trust His sovereignty. He knows the thoughts, struggles, & every detail of every person intimately. Therefore, He knows exactly what situation each person needs in their life to bring them closer to Himself. I know there have been trials in my own life that other people could look at & question God as to why He would allow that thing to come into my life. But after experiencing those trials I know that without them, I would not depend on Christ, or have a close walk with Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 illustrates this perfectly:
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What need would we have for God if our lives were perfect? What compassion would we have? What consequence would there be for sin if nothing bad ever happened? Truth is, I serve a Holy & Sovereign God who would rather see people suffer for a short time on this earth, realize their need for Him, & accept the gift of His salvation, than see them spend an eternity in hell; separated from everything that is good & comforting.
Not only that, but God knew exactly what He was doing when He put these trials into my own life. I have had an open door to talk with many girls who would have otherwise completely shut me out. Why? Because I had experienced similar hurts & I could now identify with them. They could also see that God had done a work in my life & given me victory despite my circumstances. This is the power of God & (for lack of a better word) the amazing-ness of His will!It was once said "God never wastes our tears." He knows what He is doing. Everything He does is for His glory & for the good of others.
So how does all of this tie in with my title of Forgiveness? Quite simply: because I am a sinner & I can't believe how complete God's love for me is. Isaiah 53:5 says "But He was wounded for our transgressions;He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and by His stripes we are healed."
God is all-knowing. He knew every sin I would ever commit. He knew all of the times I would choose to go against His Word. He knew every time I would bring His name down by making selfish choices for my own pleasure. He knew every time I would ever think an unrighteous thought. Every time I would look down on other people. Every single time I would choose to sin because I didn't trust that God's plan for my life was good enough. He even knew that I would doubt Him last weekend, even after the countless times He has demonstrated His perfect love for me in amazing ways. All of that & He CHOSE to die for me. This is when I should really be asking "WHY?!"
Why would Christ choose to experience a horrible death on the cross to redeem people that hated Him? Micah 7:18 says
"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love."
I honestly cannot answer why God loves us silly humans so much. In our selfishness & foolishness, He still delights in showing us a steadfast love that cannot possibly be explained. It is nothing we have done or could ever do to earn it; it is who He is. God IS love. God=Love. There is no way to explain it. So all we can do is rejoice in it & try to show that love to others. What a great gift, huh? Hopefully this is something we can all think about a little more this week & do a little happy dance about (just do it sometime when you're all alone, lest anyone point out your lack of dancing skills =)