Archive for February, 2005

The following is part of a post I recently answered on a Yahoo group. The poster was having trouble with feeling out of control of their life…and asked a question I’ve posed to God myself a time or two in the past “Why can’t I just learn my lesson so the trials will stop?”

God’s listening. He hears every word of every prayer…and all those other words that we speak in the course of the day. When we cry out to God “I can’t bear any more” he isn’t ignoring us, he’s letting us hear ourselves say…”I’m not in control. I hate this. I don’t want life to be like this! I love and it’s hurting me that the ones I love aren’t doing what I think they should –or I’m angry with you for not stepping in and changing things…you know you COULD do that, you ARE God, after all.”

Yep. He’s God. And, in spite of what we see all around us, he is in control. But that absolute hardest part about being a child of God is accepting that he has allowed sin to remain in the world. What we want is for God to remove the consequences of sin from our lives (sound familiar?). We say “God has created us with free will and we have the ability to choose good”. But we don’t like to admit that we also choose the wrong. And not just ourselves, we suffer the consequences of other people’s choices! Sometimes WE do everything right, only to have our lives obliterated by the poor choice of another. “That’s not fair!” we cry. Nope. It’s not “fair”. However God isn’t always about “fair” he’s about the ultimate redemption of his creation, about preserving his children’s eternal soul, not their mortal bodies. God is all over accountability…and he’s the most accountable of us all. It would be easy for him to just speak a word and knock the world into oblivion and start all over again. But that’s not what a responsible parent does when his children make poor choices. (He did that once you remember, and vowed never to do so again.) Instead, he set us up with everything necessary to regain Paradise. We CAN make the right choices and learn how to live above the circumstances of our earthly existence–deification–and it begins to matter less and less what happens in the world, because we don’t LIVE there. In the meantime, he’s giving everyone ample opportunity to get their acts together, and when the time is right, he’ll bring it all to fruition.

Remember the sin of the Israelites? They looked for an earthly kingdom. Their messiah was/is one who will set them free from bondage and raise them up as triumphant rulers. They were not looking for Christ…they missed him completely, despite all God had done to prepare them. We must not make the same mistake, and assume that the kingdom of heaven is rooted in this world or that our lives should be “easier”. Our lives are the starting point for learning about the nature of God. How do you learn about his mercy and forgiveness unless you find yourself sorely in need of it? How do you begin to get comfortable with living in the presence of the Most Holy, Almighty King, if you run from struggle to make yourself holy? And, if you could do it all yourself, you’d be God…and we all know that’s not happening!

We want to “learn our lesson” so the trials will stop. When we say that, we haven’t truly learned to trust our Creator. The trials are a part of life. They are what purify our souls. They bring us to the point of absolute dependence…and an understanding that it is ONLY in God that we live and move and have our being. And, if you’re being tried, then you can trust that God is at work in your heart and life…the Evil One doesn’t usually bother with those already in his grasp–he fights against holiness and what he sees of God in you.

And yes, it hurts when we see those we love making foolish choices or suffering horrible consequences. And it’s only a small taste of what God experiences every moment of every day. We’re in good company.
Lessons learned the hard way are often the best remembered


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