The long battle Jettie and I have been in and are still in has made the simple things of the God journey more and more clear to me, I think. And the battle for God's character has been at the center of much I am learning. Is He really good? If He is, then I can trust Him even when I don't understand things around me ("LORD, those who know you will trust in you." Psalm 9:10 NIRV) . But if He is like what many people think He is like, who can really trust Him? And without growing trust, how can we fulfill our destiny which is to be in relationship with Him forever? Bottom line for me of late is that I am realizing that I desperately need Father God to be showing me who He really is and where my perception of Him is still faulty. The frequent plea in scripture, "Show me your ways" therefore has taken on new meaning. It is a cry to know what God is like, not a request for direction!
As I have pondered this, I remembered that section in The Shack where Mack is with Sophia (Wisdom) for "judgment." I pick up the dialog starting on page 161.
"You must choose two of your children to spend eternity in God's new heavens and new earth, but only two."
"What?" He erupted, turning to her in disbelief.
"And you must choose three of your children to spend eternity in hell."
Mack couldn't believe what he was hearing and started to panic.
"Mackenzie...I am only asking you to do something you believe God does."
This dialog continues for quite some time, but in the end Mack begs to be sent to hell in place of his children. It is there, of course, that "the lights come on." Sophia commends Mack for sounding like Jesus and for judging well. When Mack says that he hasn't judged anything, Sophia's answer is riveting and revealing: "Oh, but you have. You have judged them worthy of love, even if it costs you everything. That is how Jesus loves."
Can you trust a God like that? Who demonstrated His love to us while we were still rebels (Romans 5:8); who loves and blesses even His enemies (Matthew 5:44-45); who readily forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin (Exodus 34:7a)? In the earlier blogs I referenced at the top I noted that God is like what He desires for us to be like (only perfect), so the sections on love, fruit of the Spirit, showing mercy and grace, etc., are pale but accurate reflections of His goodness. (God is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled!). Yes, we can trust One who is like that!
"So...whenever trust begins to erode in me, Father, please once again 'Show me your ways.' Anything that suggests that you are cruel, vindictive, delighting in evil, unkind, etc., is a lie stirred up by the evil one who hates you and us with never-ending malice! Ah, Papa. This world (and my world right now) is filled with things that would make me question your goodness, and I would be easily led there except that in your goodness you are holding onto me and pursuing me with unspeakably great kindness and love! Thank you, my Abba!"
Tom, one of Abba's little children