Highlands Blog

Is Our God Cruel?

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Sovereignty, Thankfulness

You may be like me and eager to see God’s hand in our daily lives. Knowing that there are no accidents in His kingdom, I give real gravity to things that others may not pay much heed to. But like a well-directed movie, nothing is happening on screen except what the Director wants us to see.

And so we live our lives as best we can, pursuing good things like children, job opportunities, spouses, promotions, prizes, and the like. And if we’re paying close attention, there are lots of signals. If we’re pessimistic, we read them one way, if optimistic, another. A boy asks for a date, a pregnancy is discovered, the “perfect” job opportunity pops up out of nowhere.

And our hearts leap with excitement because we know that a) this is something we want and b) God has placed it in our lives for a reason and c) it’s very possible that it will result in a husband, a baby, a great career. And then it doesn’t. Ouch, that really hurts!

Why we ask, did God even put this possibility in our lives to begin with only to have it pulled away from us at the last minute? That seems cruel. And yet we know that God is not only not cruel but the very definition of love. That only good things come from His hand. The problem occurs when we start defining “good” differently than He does.

Part of the challenge of living in “the already and the not yet” is that we can see with new eyes and yet sin is in us and all around us. In our eagerness to get what we want, we place great value on certain things in our lives and much less value in others. In as much as we are off from God’s value system, we’ll continue to be frustrated, saddened and even angry. We want a high paying job. God wants for us to have peace in our hearts in all circumstances and to reflect and be grateful daily for all that He has already provided us, even if that job never comes.

We tend to get hyper-focused on a short list of things—good things to be sure—that we desire and give a much greater value to those than the many, many, other gifts we have received from His hand. So God is thrilled with what He gives us daily knowing it all to be amazing, good for us in an eternal sense and with lots of stuff just thrown in for fun.

He’s thrilled with the friend who calls us, the delicious hot breakfast—bacon!—the beauty of the sunrise, fine comfortable clothes, a car that runs while entertaining us with music and warms us or cools us as needed. We head off to a job that pays our bills and allows us to use our gifts in a meaningful way. And we stew and remain ungrateful for all of that because we are focused on our desire for more money or a better car.

These things that we think God has put before us only to pull them away to our great disappointment is just us using our skewed vision. A lot of things drift before us and vanish. The world is a dynamic place and the ebb and flow of the vast seas of possibilities never ceases. We choose to focus on a few highly desired outcomes and devalue the rest.

When we forget God’s unbelievable charity towards us, when we overlook the “little” things He has given us today like the love of a spouse or a child, health, food, fun, friendships, a warm sun, air conditioning, and on and on, then we are putting ourselves in a frame of mind that can insanely conceive of the thought that our God is cruel.

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