As some of you already know we got news a week ago that our U.S. State Dept. has closed all Nepal adoptions. It has come as somewhat of a shock and certainly a disappointment.
I am taking this better than some might suppose. Partly because of other things currently commanding my attention. Namely, a ministry position. More about that later. There is also the fact that a few weeks ago I went through a rather dark time. But there are a few things I discovered during that time that I want to share.
The questions I continue to come back to, that I think are at the root of much of our struggles, are "Is God all good?" and "Is God all-powerful?" C.S. Lewis writes extensively about this in The Problem of Pain. He poses it this way, "If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy and if He were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both." I believe, as did Lewis, God is all good and all powerful. I believe this more and more as the days go on. Let's look more in depth at these all-important questions.
Is God omnipotent, all-powerful? Does He hold perfect control over the sins and evil of this world? In Genesis 20 God prevents sin. In Romans 1 He permits sin and the people are given over to their own desires. In Acts 2 we see that He directed sin by delivering Jesus to by crucified (and all this time we thought it was Judas). And in Job 1 He limits sin. So, He prevents, permits, directs, and limits sin and/or the effects thereof. But God never causes sin. He never sins. Nor is He ever blamed for sin. Is God powerful? Yes. Does he hold sovereign sway over evil? Yes. He also has the ability to make children appear in our extra bedrooms, although that would just be weird. So, why doesn't He?
Is He a good God? How can God be powerful enough to stop evil, yet choose not to, and still be good? In James 1 we are told that every good and perfect gift is from above. The Bible runs rampant with His goodness. Read it! "Taste and see that the Lord is good." God is behind good. He is the author of good. All good is morally chargeable to Him. The human race is charged with all unrighteousness. He is good. We are not. There is no goodness apart from Him. There is no part of Him that is good; every bit of Him is good. Is He good? Absolutely.
How are these reconciled then? I think we can get glimpse of the answer in Job. Job had a rough go of it to say the least. Far worse, I would assume, than you or I ever will. After 37 chapters of suffering (and poor advice from friends) Job questions God. God can take it. He is bigger than our questions, doubts, fears, anger, ad infinitum. This is God’s perfect opportunity to give us the answer to the problem of sin, suffering, and pain. But He doesn’t. Maybe because He knows we wouldn’t understand it. Maybe He knows it would just cause more questions. Maybe because He knows what’s best for us. I think what Job gets is far better. It is a resounding “I am with you. I am in control. See my goodness.” He gets God’s presence! He will never leave us and never forsake us. He has not forgotten the children in Nepal or you or me. He is not caught off guard and reeling in the wake of these recent decisions. He is sovereign over all. For me, there is comfort in that. He has it under control. And I have Him.
I want to take this one step further. On the cross we get the perfect picture. Jesus is “God with us”. We do not have a distant God. God came near. He suffered. He was rejected. He hungered. He bled. He wept. He became the very presence of God in tangible form. Do we have a good God? Yes, we absolutely do. He bore the full brunt of sin and evil and pain and suffering and death and three days later He rose victorious showing that all of these things fall mercilessly at His beautiful feet. Is our God great? Yes, He is a great and powerful God. He allows us to know that this life is only temporary because death no longer has victory and sin no longer has its sting. And we discover that overwhelming joy in the midst of our trials can be found in His presence.
One step further? In Luke 11 we see a strange picture. Or is it? Jesus acknowledges that no one would give their son something harmful when they ask for something good. Well, duh. But then He explains that we will have the Holy Spirit when we ask for it. But what if we don't want the Holy Spirit? What if we want children? Or health? Or a job? Or a restored marriage? Or relief?
What we get is so much better! Our Father knows what we really need is Him. And He gives Himself freely. We don’t need an answer as to why these things happen. What we need is the Answerer. We don't need just comfort, but the Comforter. Not health, but the Great Physician. The Prince of Peace and The Source of All Life is with us through it all.
Thanks for reading.