Romans 5:3-5

“…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

I’ve been chewing on some different facets of God over the last few months…having been schooled in the ‘Father’ aspect for a good while, I realized that I couldn’t camp there.  There’s the fearsome side of Him that Ananias and Sapphira learned of a day late, that I needed to take a look at.  I was reading Romans 9, and it hit me…we Americans are a very fair people.  And I had equated what I deemed as fair, with the right thing.  Not so in God’s realm, if you read Romans 9.  The theological debate over the evil in this world…it has raged for years and years.  I have struggled with many “Why God?” situations throughout my life.  But I found a new peace when I read vs 20…” Who are you, oh man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?”  It was a side of God that makes many uncomfortable…the side that hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and favored Jacob over Esau.  But if that side of God exists, it does answer a lot of questions.  And frankly, I found it comforting to just be the lump of clay and let the Potter be the Potter.

The process, written of in the Scripture at the top of this page…so often I have jumped ship before it was  complete.  I have blogged in the past about my hoper being broken…I just hadn’t reached the end of the process.  And what I am realizing is, I had omitted the uglier parts of God, and therefore found myself angry with Him when it didn’t seem fair, when He was favoring Jacob or hardening Pharaoh.  Recently, two families with 8 children in my area have lost their fathers…one to cancer and the other to a traffic accident. That is just plain hard to swallow.  I heard yesterday that a local woman lost her dad on Friday and her brother on Monday.  How could God do this?!?, right? My heart breaks for those left behind.  But let’s be careful to not be so focused on His favor for us (which I needed to learn), that we leave out the God Who might “demonstrate His wrath to make His power known (Rom. 9:22).  Without that side of God being part of our picture, we are left hopeless in trial.  We doubt His love for us, or His Goodness. But this amazing God, Whom I should fear, loves me.  And that is why hoping in Him…the total Him… does not disappoint.  Because nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35).  I am beginning to have that overarching understanding.  He loves me, no matter what He chooses.  No matter where I might fit in His tapestry of life, He has a plan to make His glory known in this world.

Well, there you have it.  Deep thoughts from a mom who lives mostly on the plain of trying to decide which detergent to buy.  May the Lord continue to teach us who He is, whether we like it or not.