Wednesday, May 9, 2012
It has been a long day. We started off about 6:00 am this morning getting things ready and Jayde getting ready. Now it is 12:00 am, and Jayde is sleeping. I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God. That may seem like a strange thing to say about sitting around in a hospital all day with a spouse being treated for breast cancer. So let me explain.
All kinds of people get cancer, tall people, short people, thin people, and heavy people, believers in Christ, and non-believers. God is good to all, both believers and non-believers. He has provided doctors, knowledge, technology, and the ability to heal to both believers in Him and non-believers. There is a difference, however.
The believer knows things that the non-believer cannot claim. For instance, the believer knows that, as Romans 8:28 states, “All things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.” So we know there is a purpose, and that it is ultimately for our good. Here is what else we have that the non-believer can’t claim. We have a God who cares. Through we do suffer, He suffers with us, and He gives us comfort during our time of suffering. We know He listens to prayers. He gives peace in situations where only supernatural peace is possible. He provides encouragement through the many other fellow believers that come along side us and pray with us and give us strength through their love for us.
Some have said, “If God is good why does He allow suffering.” Or, at least, why does He allow the ones He claims to love, to suffer, if He could prevent it. This is a difficult problem, and I won’t do it complete justice here; but I will express a few thoughts. The first thing we must realize is that God’s ways are not our ways. He is capable of seeing the end from the beginning. He alone knows how all things work their way out. I believe that there are things God does through suffering that cannot be accomplished any other way. I’ll take a particular example from the bible, the heart of the Gospel itself.
Humanity since Adam has a problem. We all sin. That is, we do those things which we know are wrong, and we do not do things we know we ought to do. Our perfectly just Creator God must punish these wrongs or He would not be perfectly just. Therein lies our problem. As Ephesians 2:3 teaches, in our sin we are by nature children of wrath, deserving of God’s judgment against us. The Gospel proclaims that Jesus, God son, took upon himself human flesh, and lived a perfect life that we, since Adam, have been unable to do. Hi seeming “reward” for this was to be ridiculed, beaten, and ultimately put to death in a tortuous style of capital punishment that the Romans would not even exercise on their own murderers. Jesus was hung on a cross by his hands and feet until death in a public and humiliating display.
How does this relate to my point? God’s ways are not our ways. First of all, we would not care enough to save a race of people who don’t think they need saving, and had, at that point, long since stopped giving God praise or thanksgiving for His goodness. But, not only does our God do something about our estranged relationship with Him, He does something that would never occur to us as an acceptable solution. He allows His son to be crucified by us, and uses this very crucifixion as the payment for the sin we have committed against Him. This is most definitely not how we would do things.
Through this time thus far with cancer, Jayde and I have learned so much about God’s love for us, and how He cares for us through the storm. He has provided us with strength and peace. He has provided us with love and support, literally from around the world, friends and family we know and love, and people we’ve never met. We could have never understood this love without an occasion to bring it to pass. This is Gods way, strength through weakness, peace in the midst of a storm, love shown, not just by friends and family, but from brothers and sisters in our shared faith that we have never met.
Let me finish with one more final note. I know many people will all kinds of backgrounds are following this blog, and I hope much encouragement and comfort is being provided by it. That is what Jayde and I have prayed for. But, there is one thing I feel I must make clear. God, our Creator, deserves our praise, and He desires to bless us. He cannot fully bless us while we remain in our sin. Like an omelet made with one bad egg, no amount of good eggs added to that omelet will ever make it good. So it is with us. No amount of “being good” can make up for even one sinful dead done, or deed we should have done, but didn’t. Jesus, the Christ, God’s substitute, who suffered and died for us, is the only satisfaction God will accept. Either we will pay for our sin personally, or we will claim Jesus, who paid it all for us. There is no other option. It is either God’s way, or ours. Please consider this, and soberly contemplate, are you hoping to somehow be be judged “good enough”, or have you asked God to forgive you and to apply what Jesus did to you, and accept His provision?