Call it Satan, evil, powers of darkness or even ‘the secular world’. There is a lie out there that says God doesn’t intimately love or care for his creation particularly his children. It is a lie initiated in the ‘garden’ when Adam and Eve were told there was something more, something better than God. It is a lie perpetuated by people today who point to events in the world, atrocities, natural disasters, disease and humanity’s inhumanity to one another and say this can’t happen under the watch of a good God or a powerful God. It is a lie that would turn our eyes away from God and turn our hearts to the affection of others and other things. It has all the markers of the ‘accuser’ who wants to thwart God’s people away from confident, trust and praise to God. It is an evil from the pit of hell that tried even to distract Jesus from his purpose on Earth when he was in the wilderness faced by satanic forces, tempted to think that God some how doesn’t know how to restore earth, or has left earth on its own.
God’s greatest power is love and he will do anything to convey that love to his creation. He will even allow his creation to groan in order that people will seek and find him. He is near to the brokenhearted not the proud. The lie tells us to be strong in ourselves, to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, to do it our way because we can’t trust the one we can’t see. Jesus says blessed are you who do not see and yet believe.
God is faithful, loving, gracious, kind and every other characteristic we see in Jesus. God is also holy and God knows God’s plans for us and he will not be thwarted to change to accommodate humanity’s egoistic desires. God is happy with his creation because he knows how this whole thing is turning out for our good and his glory. God is saddened by the death of his creation for God’s loving heart is the origin of the love we feel for those who suffer, for a creation, which suffers.
God is good which means that his virtue is impeccable, without sin. Jesus came to prove amidst suffering and sinfulness that God intends good for his creation and will go to any lengths to bring us into community with him now and for all eternity. In some respects we can no more understand the goodness and love of God than a child in the womb can fathom what a parent’s care will be like. The Apostle Paul writes to one of the churches saying that he longs for Christ to be formed in them with all the pains and groaning of a mother giving birth to a child. (Galatians 4:19)
It’s like that with suffering. Until we grasp Christ ‘in us’ we cannot know the complete love of the Father. When Christ dwells inside of us we will know God like Jesus knew his Father, even when Jesus was in agony and felt forsaken and was dying. There is a verse in Colossians which says that Christ being in us is the hope of glory.’ Colossians 1:27. That means that the life of Christ in us will allow us to see the radiance, splendor, joy and salvation of God.
Now, don’t expect that such revelations happen easily. It is a journey of a lifetime to discover the Christ in you and me. It is a journey worth the taking. We have seen others take that journey, a path that often leads through suffering, that of our own or watching the agony of loved ones or even from a distance seeing it in the world but it is a journey that God places us on when we place our confidence in him. He is doing the work of forming Christ in us as our own will allows. He will not force. His love is patient and long-suffering and there will be times when we feel left alone, angry, shamed but He promises to allow us to see the glory, maybe a glimpse here and there, maybe a flash of insight, a moment of forgiveness, maybe a radiant burst of light that overcomes all darkness. But it will come. He will not leave us nor forsake us. The history of faithful Christians bears that witness. And when the life of Christ grows ever more present in us we will become like him, we will live his life in this world. We will say like the Apostle Paul, ‘it is no longer I who live this life but Christ living in me.’(Galatians 2:20)
It will be sometimes a tortuous journey, sometimes exhilarating but it moves forward, onward, and upward. It is an eternal journey, which begins now.