Saturday, August 30, 2008

Found a House/ and Processing "God's Will"

Its back to packing up and moving again. Both house and studio. We finally found a place that is perfect, and we'll be moving there in a week!

I feel like a child…being taught how to live and what to value. The process has been daunting, frustrating, and somewhat depressing. It started with moving less than 3 months ago, being stoked about it, then being told by the landlord that her house is foreclosing and that we have 30 days to get out. About 25 days went by and we found nothing. What the heck, God? Why would you have us spent all this time and money moving and then have us move again? Why won't you help us find a house?
The story is longer than I would actually like to explain. To sum it up, it was a string of disappointments. Kind of like when you string white popcorn on a Christmas tree, but the popcorn is brown crap.

My wonderful and wise wife showed me a verse:

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)

I used to hate this verse. Not because of what it says. I've hated it because of the way that I've heard it used. It is the quintessential quote when things go wrong. A car crash paralyzes someone from the waist down and it must have been "God's will" Then we sit around and talk about how He caused the crash to "discipline us." Is God really the author of such cruelties? Do we tell a mom whose 6 year old daughter was molested by a pedophile that somehow God had something to do with that? And that it is for our benefit? As if that child needed to get molested so we can "grow stronger."

God is not the author of such evils. He was not the author of the Holocaust. He rather, was a part of the epic battle against those things. And when the force of evil came, he countered it with love (for moving example and story of this check out Irena Sendler

The Bible talks about discipline though, so what is it? I think it is a lot like the last month of my life. God wanted to show me some things. He wanted to teach me patience. He wanted to show me how to live in a way that embraces what I value in life. He wanted to show me that even when it seems like He has left, that he is working underground in ways that I just have to wait and see. This discipline is Father-like. Gentle, patient, leaving room for the child (yes me) to freak out and complain and even get really mad at Him.

I love watching Lord of the Rings. Not because I'm a fanatic who highlights their calendar for the next renaissance fair and sword eating contest (but my wife is). It is because the film series stares right in the face the idea of an epic battle. In real life, these are the 911's and the sudden deaths that are not works of the Master, but losses. I think we need to do a better job calling it what it really is. When someone goes through great loss, we need to comfort them as Father does, not avoid the painful situation by telling them that it must be "God's will." As the battle of good and evil rages on, we CAN trust that God will turn the situation around somehow…He will bring healing, He will make us stronger.

Evil, great loss and tragedy (I would say) usually come from Satan himself. But discipline, a patient and loving learning experience, comes from God. The fruit of discipline and the fruit of evil are two very different things. Ask Michael Phelps about the fruit of discipline. Or just take a look at his gold medals. Pain, suffering, and loss around us in this world are very different things

This week, I can see God teaching me in a loving way. Though my doubts and fears came from the "dark side," I am so grateful for God's strength to teach me to trust him more.


Josh said...

I totally agree with what you're saying Eric. I was just discussing this topic with my mom the other day. We were talking about how we think that some people say that everything is God's will... It's not!

We live in a broken world and people do stupid and cruel, horrible things. However, God raises up His people to fight it.

david kim said...

Hey bro,
I wish I could just send this to you personally through email but I couldn't find your email address on the site. Anyways, I think you're right when you say people are misusing that verse when they use it to talk about suffering.
When we suffer it isn't always because we're being rebuked for doing something wrong. Job suffered and he was a "blameless and upright" man (Job 1:1). Jesus suffered and He was God.

But bro, I would have to disagree with you when you say "In real life, these are the 911's and the sudden deaths that are not works of the Master, but losses." I don't say this as an impartial observer, but someone who has been through suffering myself, and someone who wants you to know of the great truth and hope found in God's Word.

I'm not denying that Satan had a part in Job's suffering, or that sinful people like me crucified Jesus. They did. It says so in the Bible. But that's not all the Bible says.

Here's what the Bible has to say about Job after he heard about the calamities that fell upon him:
"And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong" (Job 1:20-21).

Job says THE LORD has taken away. He doesn't say The Lord has given and Satan has taken away. And the verse immediately following says that Job did not sin or charge God with wrong in saying that.

Concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter says this:
"this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men" (Acts 2:23). The greatest tragedy and evil ever committed, the crucifixion, was planned by God. Isaiah 53 makes it even more clear: "But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering" (Is 53:10).

Of course these things bring up a lot of questions, many that I have had to struggle and wrestle with for a long time and that I won't be able to adequately address in a blog comment. But the verses are right there and I can't deny them. I have to either reject the Word of God or reject my finite thinking and trust in a good, loving, and sovereign God whose ways are not my ways, whose thoughts are not my thoughts.

If you have 3 minutes to spare, I hope you'll listen to this clip of John Piper explaining why the sovereignty of God is so comforting.