Monday, August 23, 2010

The "Oxymoronicness" of Defining "God is Good" in our own terms

For years I tried to define what "God is good" was supposed to mean. I remember being alone,sick,and depressed on many occasions and cursing him for ever making me. It was only when I was in agonizing pain I would cry out to him like he was my own hired hand. I can recount years in which I only looked to God if I was in actual physical pain. "Hey God, I have no use for you unless I'm desperately hurting and need some relief." And the funny thing was, he always answered.

I was in a place for a decade or so that I used God for my own benefit. Instead of having a relationship with him or letting him use me for eternal changes, I abused him as a lifeline.

One time in 2003, I ate popcorn and it got stuck in my digestive tract making a turn in the "J" portion of my "J pouch." It was the most agonizing pain I ever felt in my life and that's saying something for someone who had a stomach ache for almost 5 years straight. I was sprawled out on the hallway floor for the better part of an hour writhing in pain. Finally I heard the still small voice of the Lord say , " How about you ask me to help?". So I did. The pain left immediately...Immediately. I thanked God and forgot about him until I was in pain again.

I was defining "God is good" in my own terms. My definition was God is good when I need him or he is good when my life is "good." I was unable to see his constant willingness to be good because I had created a man made version of God. Talk about an oxymoron... "Hey God. Come and hang out on my terms, then go away until I need relief again. Thanks man. Well done Good and faithful God,enter into the joy of my human needs."

We get in trouble in life when we have flesh driven expectation of God. Why do so many people turn from God when a loved one dies, or a marriage fails, or we are wronged by a human in some form. Allot of times I think we forget that this is not heaven. If things went "perfectly good" on this earth, what would we have to look forward to in heaven?

Last year I got transferred from one job to another after reporting improprieties at a house I was working at . It felt wrong being transferred because I didn't do anything wrong. I asked God why this would happen when he knew I was right and management was wrong. I was trying to bargain with God about what was good and what was bad. "God, Did you get confused and think I was wrong? Did you forget that I was fighting for the least of these?" My mind was playing games on me about his goodness. I was mad at God for allowing this to happen. Another oxymoron minus the oxy.

In the next year I realized why God had me transferred. I made relationships with people at my new job that were fruitful and everlasting. I saw 3 people come to Christ at the new house. After the last person whom God set me up with to witness to had got saved,I got a new job. His timing is perfect. His work was done at this house...Oh wait, God knew what he was doing when I got wronged and transferred? Really?

God put these people in my life. Then in my heart. Then gave me the ability and timeliness to help show them his love. This never would have happened had "God is good" been defined by my logic. I would have wallowed in the previous house, not sowing any seeds.

God is good even when you are being wronged by the world? God is good even when today absolutely appears to suck? It's all in your perception. And for so many years I had deception in my perception.

When someone dies before their time, or even after their time,so often people get mad at God. We forget the fact that if we had a chance to ask our loved one if they would want to come back to earth they would laugh at you and say no way. We forget that 18 years old is no different to God then 90 years old. That the stories and trickle downs of lives lived, and their forthcoming eternal ramifications, transcends time.

"Time exists,but just on your wrist's,so don't panic." God wants us to know that this earth is not heaven and he is begging us to not try to define it as such. Imagine if "God is good" translated into our own ideal life on earth. We would get to heaven and feel ripped off and confused. "Wait, I got everything I wanted on earth,so how is heaven set apart?"

If there was no afterlife I could see how we could easily get angry at God for taking a loved one from us or allowing us to be sick. But talk about oxymoron again. Without an afterlife,there would be no God to get mad at.

I have talked to so many people who try to define "God is good" in their own terms and end up angry at him. I looked at one in the mirror for 15 years. It's one of Satan's greatest weapons; Confusing the human spirit into thinking that God might only be good some of the time,or even worse: That God isn't good at all. All the while letting it take place in our own convoluted man made dictionary. Last I checked, "Webster" or "Merriam" didn't rise from the dead on the third day.

I read recently that it is better to be healed then cured. In my new reality I am healed of all my ailments. I may not be cured yet. I may not be cured on this earth,but I am healed because my circumstance lulls in comparison to what God has done and what he will do. Would I take an instant cure to all my problems right now if it meant I was not healed? Never. By his stripes we are healed. I now know why that passage doesn't say "By his stripes we are cured." We must be healed first. And healing takes place in our perception. Our true cure comes when we get to heaven and see the beauty of the face of Jesus.

I know of so many tragedies that result in either turning on God or turning to God.One extreme or another. I believe the direction people choose is primarily based on who tries to define God's goodness and who accepts his goodness has a definition Webster's dictionary does not contain. The people who hold the most power for the eternal good of God's kingdom are the people who have suffered loss. There is power in the story of your suffering that people yearn to hear.

I know of a recent tragedy that has led countless souls to Christ. The person whose earthly life has been lost is happy in his arms. Because of it and the trickle down that God has allowed,many more will join him one day. Beauty for ashes. In God's time. Because time only exists in eternity.

I am thankful God allowed me to use God for so many years. I am thankful he let me yell at him and curse him. I was not struck down by lightning. I was not banished to hell. God is good even when I am not. I am thankful that he stuck with me when I wanted nothing to do with him.

So many people ask how a good God would allow such bad things to happen to us. They hem and haw and turn to the things of the world as God sits and waits in the same place he was when things were "good." He weeps at our confusion. He yearns for our return.

I leave you with this challenge. Don't define "God is good." I have been challenged in how I pray lately. I don't want to ask for things specifically because if its not in my best interest (And only God knows my best interest), and it doesn't happen because of it,Then it would be easy to get mad at the Lord.

I have learned to just pray for his will allot more lately then specific things that the human mind defines as "good." What more could you want then his will? A job? Health? Money? Don't be silly. Don't write your own definition.

In the end the only dictionary that will exist is a book of names..In it will be names of those who have chosen Jesus. You can put your name in it today. Because God is always good and your destiny is promised the moment you accept that as fact and ask Jesus into your life. Until you see him face to face in a place that neither oxymoron's or moron's exist, we can't define "good" by human standards. One day you will understand that he is and was good all along. I only hope you can make that day today.


David said...

Good job from one moron to another.

Ashley said...

rejuvenating. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good

Diane L said...

Good job Joey God is Great And your blog is awesome. I loved the line about when we get there will be no oxymorons or morons!
I am so sorry you have had to suffer so much but you are a precious chosen honored vessel quite useful to the Master!

Rachel said...

Your article was very well written and I agreed with most of it. However, I still ask for things when I pray and I claim things as though they were. Obviously I realize that God is not my chore boy, but I also realize that when I ask He can say no if there is something else He has planned. Seeking the will of God for your life doesn't mean you can't ask. I just make sure to live for Him even when He says No or Not right now.

tiffany said...

I loved this. Thank God for His blessings and gifts. Keep it up because more of us need to hear and read how God is working in your life. Thanks for this treat in the middle of my day.

Brenna said...

Thank you for your candor. I think instead of "God is good" which leaves room for "except when...", it should be "God=good."

tiffany said...

so I read this again and it was like reading it for the first time. it wasn't until i saw my previous comment that i remembered reading it before. this time i cried. this time your written words spoke a new message to me. is this because the Holy Spirit has been working overtime on my wretched self or that i have had a bit more suffering then the last time i read this? i don't know . i loved it more the second time around because this time i cried and felt your pain, and anger and your subsequent acceptance of God and His promises for you. thanks for sharing again.

Sister Bear said...

worth the second read. totally. I have totally online stalked u today, hope you're ok with that.