Friday, July 11, 2014

God Loves You, but that's Only Part of the Equation



The good news is that God loves you. Scripture is very clear on that. It is important, however, that you understand the rest of the equation. Allow me to illustrate why.

Let's imagine that you're a Jewish Christian living in Jerusalem during the time of the first severe persecution of the church (Acts 8). You have been faithful to your beliefs only to find yourself now chased from your home, driven from pillar to post, split from the local body of believers, and sent reeling into a wider, more hostile world. Would you not bemoan what has taken place? Of course you would. 

I'm sure that those early believers were forced to grapple with the question of where God's love fit into the equation. Perhaps they cried out, as we sometimes do, "Lord, don't you see what's happening here? Don't you care about how much I'm struggling? I thought you loved me." 

But witness the providence of God at work: after Paul was converted and began traveling on his missionary journeys, he met other Christians everywhere along the way (even in Rome!), Christians who could trace their presence in these regions to that initial scattering. 

Yes, God loves you, but if you hold on to that one truth to the exclusion of all other truths, you will find yourself completely adrift. 

God loves you, but that's only part of the equation. 

You must bear in mind that His love for you does not operate independently from other aspects of His nature, such as His love for other people, His sovereign will, and His overarching plan to demonstrate His glory to all humanity.

So when the storms hit, do not despair. Remember that God does indeed love you, and because of that love, you are afforded an anchor for your soul. Remember that the Christian experience does not promise the absence of storms, but shelter in the time of storm.

William Cowper was no stranger to this concept. As a believer who grappled with depression, he found grace to pen the following words:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
 
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
 
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
 
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
 
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
 
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
William Cowper, 1774  



2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Such a simple concept with such a profound impact on how we understand God.

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