“With all the bad stuff that goes on in the world,” I asked Stan one morning, “do you ever wonder why a loving God would allow that?”
“I understand your question,” Stan replied, “but I think a better focus is to ask how does what’s going on fit into the expression of God’s love?”
“How so?” I asked.
“If I ask the question you were asking,” Stan said, “it seems to me it’s the same thing as questioning whether or not God really loves us. In my mind, that’s a given, so I need to ask how does what’s going on fit into what I believe about God’s love.”
“How’s that suppose to happen?”
“In the first place,” Stan replied, “I think it’s essential to know what the Bible says about God’s love, and that can happen only by making the effort to know. Secondly is the part about not just knowing God’s word, but knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son.”
“The part about how Jesus said that knowing them is eternal life?” I asked.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “The eternal life of knowing them, as contrasted to life eternally with them when my time here is completed. And knowing them can, I believe, only happen from purposefully pursuing an ever-deepening personal relationship with them on this side of eternity.”
“Then,” he continued, “comes the part about how all of this fits under the umbrella of the three steps of being a disciple.”
“In what way?”
“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that the part about denying self has to do with getting my self-focused question of “Why?” out of the way so I can ask, “How?” And after I have asked ‘How?” then comes the part about taking up what God has for me to take up in living out the ‘How.’ To me, that’s the part about seeing the ‘Why’ of what’s going on and applying it to my life.”
“And what about the third step,” I asked, “the step of following?”
“That,” Stan replied, “is the part about knowing that God loves me regardless of what may or may not be going on and following Him in His expression of that love. Following Him wherever, whenever, and however His love leads.”
Bible verses to consider:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
For God so loved the world . . . . John 3:16. And this is eternal life . . . . John 17:3.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your love in giving Jesus so that all who believe in Him can have life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus. Thank you, too, for the truth that your love does not change regardless of what may be going on in the world or in my life. I confess that too often I have been tempted to ask, “Why would a loving God allow such and such?” Please forgive me for the foolishness of that question. And please help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible relationship where I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, the depth of your love. Help me to live the life you intend based on that knowledge. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever wondered or asked, “Why would a loving God allow such and such?” If so, what was that all about? Do you believe that God’s love is expressed in whatever may be going on in the world or in your life? Why or why not? What would it look like for you to live your life in total surrender to the fact of God’s love, regardless of what is going on? Would you like to live that kind of life? If so, how is it going to happen?