My book signing at the library on Thursday included a presentation in which I gave an overview of my book, its message and the motivation behind it.
Most people reacted positively to it and there were some good questions. One man asked why he felt like his fight was against flesh and blood, even though I had mentioned the reference in Ephesians 6:12 where we learn that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in high places.
This is a good, honest question. I explained that indeed, on the surface, our battles involve people and physical things, but that there is a spiritual component behind them. The origins of both good and evil are in the spirit realm.
At the end of the presentation, another person in the audience had a much different view on what she had heard. She was rather annoyed and her comments were, to say the least, haughty. She sharply proclaimed that mature Christians do not ask why because God is sovereign. Her implication was that god does everything and does it the way he wants it done.
I did not respond to the comment because at the time, my words would not have been properly measured. Rather than giving an answer of anger, I will now give an answer of truth based on scripture.
I would like to show you three verses which, I believe, are related on this topic. This is a major reason for my book. Basically, we can summarize these verses by asking three questions about God: What does he want us to do? What does he want to do for us? What kind of relationship can result?
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:23 (KJV)
In the verse from Hebrews, we see that God wants us to believe that he exists, and that he is able and anxious to bless (reward) us as we diligently seek him. As we observe and experience things in life, we must consider why they occur, and how we are supposed to respond to them.
In Jeremiah, we clearly see that God’s nature and plan for us is to prosper us and not to harm us. Therefore, in seeking to know and love God, we must also ask why there is so much death and destruction taking place in this world. Based on this verse, we know that it can’t be God who is doing these things.
The verse in James refers to Abraham as the friend of God. The way to become friends with someone is to visit with them, get to know them and talk with them. You can’t cultivate a friendship with God by merely sitting back and assuming that everything in life comes from him. If we believe that God’s desire is always to prosper us and never to bring us harm, then we must diligently seek to understand why there is so much sickness, death and destruction in the world at times. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t become very good friends with anyone who would love me at one turn and destroy me at another! Yet, many people who believe in God are presenting him as that kind of being. Their descriptions make God impersonal and distant.
There is a great deal more which can be written on this topic. Jesus said that he always did the will of God. He always healed people and brought them joy. He never harmed anyone. That is the standard and that is the nature of the God I serve!