For the month of February, I will be giving away a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. So, leave a comment on my blog and you will have the chance to win this fabulous book.
Now on to my topic:
I have a confession to make... when I came to the end of the decade of my 30's and life was full of disappointments, turbulence and pain, I had a lurking suspicion deep in my heart that God was not really good- or, at least, He was not really good to me.
That was a really hard confession to make. After all, I knew better. Theologically and intellectually, I had been taught that God is good, and everything He does is good (Psalm 119:68). In the midst of my turbulent times, Satan tempted me to wonder, "If God was good, how could he let these things happen?"
In her book, Lies Women Believe And the Truth That Sets Them Free, Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains it this way:
"When Satan wanted to tempt Eve to rebel against God, he did so by planting in her mind a seed of doubt about God's goodness: "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the Garden'?" (Genesis 3:1). The implication was that "God must not be good - if He were, He would not have denied you something you really wanted."Once we doubt the goodness of God, we feel justified in rejecting His will and making our own decisions, as if we know better than God. Once we doubt the goodness of God, we lose trust in His ability to do anything good for us at all. Once we doubt the goodness of God, His promises are no longer true in our eyes. If the enemy succeeds in making us believe this one lie, our whole world is rocked!
This is where I found myself standing in November 2009, on a precipice of decision - to which side would I jump? Would I believe that God was to blame for all my misery or would I believe that God was good no matter what the circumstances appeared to be?
Here is the tough question...
Does God send hardship and pain? If the answer is no, then why doesn't God stop the pain when we ask Him to???
I finally got a grasp on this one question that has been the topic of books on the best seller list for decades. It is not as difficult to understand as one may think; however, I cannot fully do justice to this deep theological question in a short blog post. If you struggle with this question, please visit my bookstore. I recommend: Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free and Crazy Love.
To get a better grasp on this tough question, we need to understand how God created us and the authority He gave us.
I said, "You are gods, you are all sons of the Most High" (Psalm 82:6)Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’ ? (John 10:34)
God created us as "gods", not "Gods" in the sense of divinity, but "gods" in the sense of rulership. We were given dominion, power and authority over the earth. Since it was ours to rule and reign, we were gods over this earth. When God gave us this authority, he took a step back and said, "Have at it!" (my paraphrase). It was ours to do with it as we pleased, whether good or bad.
Notice, His giving of authority wasn't conditional. God didn't say, "As long as you obey me, you can have dominion." No, He just said, "take dominion of it!". At this point in creation, there was only one rule: "Don't eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". He gave us freedom to choose whether to obey God or not.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, EVERYTHING changed! Humans no longer had full authority and dominion like God intended (see Strongholds of the Enemy). The earth was now controlled by the rebel holder of authority - the one who stole it away, Satan and his demons. At this point, God set many unchangeable spiritual laws into effect. He cursed the the serpent, He cursed the earth, He cursed the man and He cursed the woman because of their sin. All the pain, death and disease we see in the world today is a direct result of sin.
The devil and his demons, as spirit beings, have no power or authority on this earth apart from physical human beings yielding it to them. Demons are looking for a physical body, a willing vessel. They need somebody who will submit to them. The power that the devil or a demon uses against us is our own. Satan has zero supernatural power. All his authority comes from man.
Many Christians see Satan as an angelic being with god-like supernatural power and authority over them. But this is not the case. You see, when Satan rebelled against God, he was stripped of his angelic power and now operates under the only power available to him...human power and authority. That's why he seeks whom he may devour. Satan, who is without a physical body, is absolutely powerless unless we empower him by yielding to and indulging in his lust, lies, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness or some other sin.
As Creator, God could have wiped out humanity, Satan and the demons completely (He came pretty close to doing so with the flood) and started over. Yet, to intervene would be a violation of His Word and the entire universe would self-destruct because it is held together by the integrity of His Word. (Hebrews 1:3)
The only way He could "save" us from our mess and claim back our authority from the enemy, was to come to earth as a human with the authority given to mankind, and redeem us. And, of course, that's just what He did!
When Jesus Christ came as a human, his life, death and resurrection accomplished all the saving, healing and redeeming that will ever need to be done. He has destroyed the rebel holder of authority; however, until Jesus returns again to take us to heaven, we must wait in these earthly bodies and stand firm against the attacks of the enemy.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age". Matthew 28:18-20So, the coolest part is, Jesus has reclaimed the believer's lost authority and dominion. Not only that, but He has been given authority in heaven as well as on earth and He commands us to go with this authority (all authority in heaven and on earth) and make disciples. WOW!
Let me bring this all back around then to the question, "Is God good?"
God created us perfect with dominion and authority over the whole earth. We were deceived and Satan stole our authority away and now the earth is under his control because we are submitted to him in many areas of our lives. God was so good that he did not violate His Word and intervene with our mess; yet, He sent His only Son, as a human, to save us from our own destruction (the only way He could have without violating His own Word).
Jesus has not only restored our dominion and authority, he has also given us weapons with divine power to fight off the attacks of the enemy until Jesus returns to rule and to reign over all the earth.
Yes, bad things DO happen. Everything bad is a result of sin. Some of the bad things that happen are a result of our own personal sin because we have submitted ourselves to the devil. On the other hand, some bad things are a result of the sin of our ancestors, our government leaders or those who have gone before us. Lastly, natural disasters are a result of the curse God placed on the earth as His creation heaves and groans to be released from it's bondage (Romans 8:20-22).
In short, God is Good and all His promises are true. The battle is in our mind. The enemy is working undercover to make you believe God is not good by setting up arguments against the knowledge of God. Demolish that argument and take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ!
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Romans 10:5
A prayer for you to pray :
God, you are good and everything you do is good. Give me the capacity today to see your goodness in the midst of my pain, turbulence and disappointment. Increase my faith to the point where I can say with confidence that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Give me the courage and strength each day to put on my armor and use my weapons with divine power to stand firm and fight off the fiery darts of the evil one, especially the temptation to believe the lie that you are not good to me.
May I not give in to the temptation to live in self-pity or the belief that you are angry with me and are punishing me with bad things. Enable me to recognize these thoughts from the evil one who makes arguments against the truth and take these thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
Renew my mind by the power of your Word. The integrity of your Word holds all things together and you will never violate your Word (Heb 1:3).
In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~