When we think about the month of February we often think of love. Most often the thought is about love for others. This month I want us to consider God’s love for us, consider this question.
What do I think about God’s love for me personally?
When I took the time to think about God’s love for me I realized that I had questioned His love. In times when my circumstances caused deep pain, and the cry for God to save me went unanswered caused me to think “How could God say He loves me and allow such pain and suffering in my life?”
Then I came to a decision, I had to ask myself why would I want to follow a God who treats people like this?
Surprisingly the answer came quickly, I want to follow God because He has shown Himself strong in my life. He has not only saved me from Hell but also from myself and the destructive lifestyle of sin. He has given me the strength to change my bad habits, and has given me hope and peace instead of constant fear!
After years of wondering, God finally showed me that He uses our pain and suffering for a greater purpose in life. He showed me Joseph in Genesis 37-45 had dealt with great pain in his life.
He was hated, picked on, almost killed, sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape, put into prison and forgotten. I am sure he cried out for God to deliver him, but He didn’t. Joseph had to have come to the same question I did, why would I want to follow a God who allows such pain?
We know from Genesis 45:7 that Joseph did follow God, he said to his brothers “It was not you who sent me here, but God in order to preserve life.”
Joseph came to the understanding that God was using all his pain and suffering for a greater purpose, to preserve life. I don’t think he fully knew the impact of the preservation, he not only saved the life of his family but also the nation of Israel which Jesus was born into, and ultimately you and me!
God also showed me not to become offended with Him for what He does or does not do.
Think about John the Baptist, he was loved by God, Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” But John finding himself in prison, sends Jesus a message. “Are you the one or shall we look for another?”
What John is really saying is, I have separated myself, preached your word and have done all you have asked me to do, if you are really the One why am I in this prison? Jesus replied, “Tell John what you hear and see, the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who keeps from taking offence at Me.” Jesus is saying to John, yes I am the One and all these miracles prove it, but blessed are you if you do not take offence because I do not get you out of this prison!
I realized that I had taken offence with God because I knew He could have made everything better if He wanted to. He showed me the blessing is in the made up mind that says “I will serve God even when there is pain and suffering.” When one takes this stance then they will see the peace of God which surpasses understanding.
The best thing I learned about God’s love is He is patient. He waited for me to come to a higher understanding of Him without giving up on me!
Because we live in a sinful fallen world we all have bad things happen to us, our advantage as Christians is that we can allow God to work in us, making our pain work for a greater purpose, using our experience to comfort others.