If you had asked me before what my view of God was, I would have given a theologically correct answer. I am not one of those people who views God as unconcerned. I am not one of those people who views God as a cosmic vending machine- passing out answers to prayer on command. I would have said that God was all-powerful, all-knowing, compassionate, loving and involved with His creation.
I would have been right, but, truthfully, my view of God was (and still is) limited by my experience of Him. God is not a man. He's really nothing like us at all. For one thing, He exists outside of time. The end is the same as the beginning with Him because there is no beginning and no end. I know, I don't understand that either, but it might explain some of why He allows tragedies. He knows that it will be okay in the end. The long period of pain from His perspective is just a moment that results in greater glory.
As a result of Bryan's death, I am becoming acquainted with different aspects of God's nature. The God who sent His Son for the express purpose of suffering. The God who allows us to suffer because He knows that only suffering will make us more holy. The God who grants us great happiness and then withdraws that happiness without an explanation. The God who cares more about our holiness than our happiness. The God who has all the power in the world, and then uses that power to do what He wants, not what I want.
So as my view of God expands, I'm learning something of the fear of the Lord. But it's important that my view stay balanced. How can I keep from forgetting the compassion and mercy of the Lord? After losing his wife to cancer, C.S. Lewis said, "Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is coming to believe such dreadful things about Him." What keeps me from only seeing the "dreadful" aspects of His nature?
There are probably two answers to that. The first is time. The God who exists in timelessness uses time to heal. That's what everyone says, though I imagine the healing isn't without some pretty ghastly scars.
The second, though, is most important right now. It is the kindness and compassion of others. When I see others caring for us and praying for us, I know that the Lord is working through them. (Yes, even through the people who might not believe He exists.) And to all of you I am grateful. Thank you for reminding me that the Lord's goodness and His terrible strength exist side by side.
" Now may the God of
peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead...
complete in every good work to do His will,
working in you what is well pleasing in His sight."