Into the Depths: A Question Of......

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Question Of......

Here is all I know. Or at least what I wonder about.

I. God's idea of "protection" is not the same definition as currently set forth in the dictionary:

pro·tec·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pr-tkshn)n.
A)The act of protecting.
B)The condition of being protected.
2) One that protects.
3)A pass guaranteeing safe-conduct to travelers.

His "protection" is the promise to not leave you alone while the opposite of all the above definitions are happening in your life. Yet, with His Son:

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" Which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

--if He would turn from His one, only, beloved Son, then certainly He could turn from one such as me. If God is always with me and yet I suffer physical, emotional, sexual or psychological harm, then He is not my protector, but instead my companion. I had a man break into my home one night as I slept back in 1997. He beat me in the head until my screaming convinced him to run out of the house. The week following that incident, my music minister called and said he needed me to sing on Sunday....I knew what song and I said no way. He said, too late your name is already in the bulletin. I sang feeling like a huge hypocrite and to this day hate that song. It was "Shout To The Lord." The lyrics, my comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength....yeah, I so wasn't feeling it.

II. God does have the capacity to hate people. If He can hate one person, how can we know He does not hate others?

Malachi1:1-3 1 An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. Jacob Loved, Esau Hated 2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says. "Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals."

My life experience, which is all I really have, does not tell me that God loves me. I know better....but do I really? My life doesn't tell me different, it is simply other's beliefs that have been drilled into me for the past seventeen years or so. So how do I know which is real. If all the evidence points one way even though what most call "truth" points the other way, where do I stand, in what I know or in what I have been told.

IV. God will harden a man's heart against Him if it suits His purpose. How then, is it that man's fault?

Exodus 9:12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.

I know people will try to rationalize all of these verses.......maybe that is what I am doing. Making them fit what I think they mean whether they do or not. For instance, the following verses mean to me that you absolutely can go too far. Furthermore, once you have gone that far, you can never come back. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't know how it could mean anything other than what it says.

Hebrews 6:4-6 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

It can't be talking about people who were never saved, it says "those who have shared in the Holy Spirit."

These are some of the thoughts, questions, fears, whatever, that assault my mind hour after hour, day after day. I don't know why I can't just let it go, realize that I am human and God is God and that is all there is to it, but I can't. I guess partly because these things are so central to who God is and what He is in relation to me. If it is possible that God hates me, how can I trust Him. If it is certain that He will not protect me, why would I trust Him. If God will do with my will whatever He chooses to accomplish His purposes, why do I have to care about anything at all, God will just make it happen. And if you can go to far, if you can walk away from the grace of God, assuming you had it in the first place, and once you have done so you can never return, well then I am in deep deep trouble.

I am sure someone is dying to yell at me after reading this. Call me blasphemous, sacrilegious, ungrateful, whatever you want. But God created me as an analytical person. God is omniscient. God knew before I ever set foot on this earth that these questions would fill my thoughts. I figure He's big enough to take them as He created me to ask them.


Blogger LiteratureLover said...

These are incredible questions.
I. True. I don't believe His protection is always what we percieve as protection. I think you are right in saying that His protection is not leaving us alone. God did forsake His own Son which, I agree, is unsettling. But, it seems necessary so that God stayed separate from sin. Then Jesus said that He would never leave or forsake His disciples. He knew how painful it was to be abandoned.

II. Oh yes, loving Jacob and hating Esau has always disturbed me as well. After all, I am a twin and I wouldn't want to be the one God hated. I'll try to explain how I personally resolve this later on. As far as having to sing that Sunday, that minister should not have asked that of you.

IV. I can't argue with the fact that God hardens hearts. It's there. It's true. I know some would say that because God can see into the future that perhaps He knew they would turn against Him and thus hardened their heart. But it doesn't say that, so I don't know if that's true or not. I won't argue this point.

As far as the Hebrew passage, I struggle with it as well. I've tried to study the Greek (in my limited way) and I can't get an explanation that I like. So I am no help here. But I will ask my husband and our other pastor to help reveal these passages if there is a different way that it reads.

You said:
"If it is possible that God hates me, how can I trust Him. If it is certain that He will not protect me, why would I trust Him. If God will do with my will whatever He chooses to accomplish His purposes, why do I have to care about anything at all, God will just make it happen. And if you can go to far, if you can walk away from the grace of God, assuming you had it in the first place, and once you have done so you can never return, well then I am in deep deep trouble."

Oh, these thoughts and fears, I know them well. I have one thing that has helped me deal with them, which I said earlier that I would try to explain. It sometimes sounds so trite that I hate to write it. But, in all my struggles in believing God, I think the most difficult one is believing He is good. IF, we can succomb all other doubts and believe this, then these other thoughts wouldn't be so scary. I say that as if it would be easy to do, but trust me, I know how difficult a struggle it is. I still haven't grasped it.

"God knew before I ever set foot on this earth that these questions would fill my thoughts. I figure He's big enough to take them as He created me to ask them."

Girl, all I can say to that is AMEN! I'm glad He's big enough to handle them because I've asked more than my fair share.

June 01, 2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger Shayne said...

You're not alone in your thoughts, and you are right that God is big enough to handle them.

There is no easy way to get rid of the doubts. Each person has to walk it out for themselves. But I can tell you that for me, what it came down to was making up my mind that no matter what my environment looked like, no matter what my circumstances look like, and no matter what emotional state I'm in...I believe God.

If God had hardened your heart, the way he did Pharaoh, you wouldn't care one whit about whether or not God hates you. You said yourself that God is omniscient. If that's so, then isn't it possible that God knows already those who will never turn to him and those who will? Maybe that's why He hardened Pharaoh's heart. Just my thought...I'm not a theologian.

I don't know one thing about you, but from the things you have shared in your postings it sounds as though you are one angry woman. You have every right to be angry. Bad things have happened that have totally shaken your belief in God and your reason for existence. You must have one powerful anointing on your life for the enemy to come after you the way he has. However, it also looks like the anger and the unforgiveness toward yourself is working overtime to destroy you. Why hang on to it? God doesn't.

Acts 13:22...check out God's description of David the backstabbing murdering adulterer. He calls him a "man after my own heart who will do all My will." I paraphrased it, but you get the meaning. Now, why would God call David that? Clearly that's not the type of man that David's actions portrayed. But David repented of his sins, and immediately went right back to pursuing God. He knew something about God's grace and capacity to forgive(keep in mind this was before the Cross) that few of us today understand.

I've already said way way too much. God does love you. The Holy Spirit is at work in you, that's obvious from your questions. As I said before, if you were too far gone, those thoughts wouldn't even cross your mind. May the peace of God which passes all understanding be with you. Forgive me for my lengthy comment.

June 01, 2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger SuperMom said...

No screaming here. You're right. He can handle it.

I have wrestled with some of these myself and I still don't have all the answers. It scared me to think these things, because it went against everything I had believed my whole life.

For me, I had to come to a place where I had to take some things on faith. I couldn't deny there was a God, and if I knew he was there, I had to think he was omniscient and knew and understood things in ways I couldn't fathom.

But I still question. And I don't think that's bad. I think it's worse to pretend you have all the answers. Don't ever give up the search. Here's praying you will find peace in knowing you are loved, by God and others, and you are never alone.

June 01, 2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Wow! I love what you're posting. I don't love what you've had to experience or endure, but to put this stuff out and to vocalize it takes such courage and passion. Thank you.

I hear you pushing off against some fairly familiar interpreations and doctrines of the church. Good for you. The questions you're asking are healthy and obviously very meaningful for you.

A couple thoughts that have helped me as I've walked my journey...

- I have tried to move away from either/or kind of thinking about God. For instance, I recognize that God is love. I buy that. But I also remember that God has at times rejected the offerings of God's people, refused to bless, and in the text you quoted - talked about hating. What kind of makes sense to me is that the testimony of Scripture just isn't as black and white or either/or as it reads in our translations. God saying 'Esau I hated' doesn't me he hated Esau - that makes no sense. Esau is the one who shows God's face to Jacob again (in the end of Jacob's return home). But God chose to bless and move the family line through Jacob over and against Esau. (Interestly, Jewish commentators have a different take...)

- Relationships and intimacy are downright difficult at any level, including with God. Intimacy requires all kinds of investment, surrender and vulnerability - and often I'm resistant, or just not willing to go there, even with God. Thinking through my experiences and Scripture with a relational theology lens has been helpful as I've rethought some stuff I had 'drilled into me' early on.

I would love to talk more about some of this - particularly about God's 'protection' and 'abandonment' stuff. The children of Israel really struggled with this stuff, just like many of us do.

June 01, 2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Bttrfly1976 said...

I so appreciate all of your responses. I am grateful beyond words for your lack of judgement. I am so used to cookie cutter/sunday school answers, that I was shocked when each of you were real and genuine not just in responding to my struggles but in opening the windows to your own souls as well. Each of you has, however, stirred up new questions in me by what you stated. I won't presume your desire to answer, but will instead let you decide and let me know if you are interested in hearing about it. From the depths in which this chaos lies, I sincerely thank each of you.

June 01, 2006 5:59 PM  

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