I've always considered myself of having a solid theology, a good understanding of the attributes of God. I know that He is faithful, omnipotent, sovereign, holy, full of goodness and mercy, and the list could go on. It's easy to say good theology and to speak of these attributes of God when all is well in your life. Its also easy when things are going wrong in a friend or family members life. We are always ready to throw Bible verses and cliches their way so that way we can pat ourselves on the back and feel like we have offered something hopeful without truly listening or investing into that person. This is how I have operated so many times over the years with people I know.
Over the past 6 months God has been breaking my theology down in a way of challenging/forcing me to stop "saying" things but to dig deeper and truly believe them as truth in my own life and circumstances. This has not been easy. I absolutely believe and know that God uses suffering in the lives of his followers to bring glory to Himself and the kingdom. I read the Bible and see the lives of the apostles and how their lives represent lives of suffering. However when suffering heads my way, I recoil. I am confused, hurt, and left feeling abandoned by God. How can this be??
When I was attacked in September I remember my thoughts throughout that experience. Through the struggle and fighting, I can remember specifically calling on God and feeling sure that He would rescue me from this experience without rape occurring I truly was confident that God would allow certain things to happen to me for a specific reason, BUT he would never allow "that" to happen. Rape was too awful of a thing and God would never allow a daughter of His to experience something such as that. My theology during the attack was challenged and broken. He did allow such a thing to happen and I struggled with that ever since. When I look back at my understanding of what God would allow and would not allow, I realize how incredible foolish I was. There are no promises of such things in His word. He promises to give us grace, peace, and love to endure difficult situations but not to escape them.
I was faced with this challenge once again in the past two weeks. I had recently found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were ecstatic. We wept with joy when we heard the good news. I had felt it was a gift from God to help with the healing from September In fact from the day I learned I was expecting all symptoms of PTSD that I had been experiencing had faded and were replaced with a wonderful joy! A few weeks later I started to have major complications and fear set in. Something was definitely wrong. We went to the ER and they diagnosed me with a threatened miscarriage, but said that it was not confirmed yet. It could go either way. So for one week we lived with the statistics, 50% chance our baby would live or 50% chance it would not. Dan and I prayed fervently and once again my "me-centered" theology began to take over. We have experienced so much pain and suffering already, God surely would not add to that now. Once again that theology was broken and we lost our little baby. Devastation came swiftly. Pain again? Really Lord? Haven't we endured enough? Why can't I catch a break? Do you have it out for me? All of these thoughts filled my mind. My brain knows that its a broken theology, but my heart is breaking at the same time.
We have a problem when we "know" who God is in a objective point of view yet when it comes to our life, our theology all of sudden changes with our circumstances. This is extremely dangerous for our faith, yet I am so guilty of this. Who am I, to try to tell God what He should or should not allow in my life? I know He is sovereign, but am i trusting in that? I know that He is faithful, but am I acting on that? I know that He is good, but am I still believing that when His goodness looks different than mine?
I read this quote by John Piper yesterday..... Jesus Christ is mightily loving his people with an omnipotent, moment by moment love that does not always rescue us from calamity but preserves us for everlasting joy in his presence even through suffering and death. We must hold onto this! Our lives are truly just vapors compared to an eternity spent with Him. Revelation tells us that one day God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more pain or sorrow. This is where we can find joy in our pain here in on earth. We do have a hope in Jesus Christ. I must have a firm grip on His love for me, so that it does not shift when calamity comes my way.