Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meridian Minute #17- God, Goodness, and Trust

Amazon Book Link is HERE
God, Goodness, and Trust

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Themes come together in our lives. It is amazing sometimes how this happens. In this past week I have been aware of the same theme. It keeps coming up. It is about something that plagues people of faith. We often have trouble believing in God's goodness, not because we don't want to, but it comes when all is not going well or there have been disappointments or tragedy. Distance from God begins to cause a wedge, a crevasse we can't seem to bridge. There are times when we struggle with believing God is there for us.  That he has our best interest at heart. The bottom line seems to be something along this line, Is God good? When it's not going well, when there are difficulties that could have been prevented or at least surmounted, these things can cause us to waiver in our belief in God's goodness to his created beings. Last week I wrote a blog about going deeper with God. I know this to be true, a person can't go deeper with God if there is hesitancy or self protection in their reaching out to God. It's interesting, the hesitancy may be based in past human interactions.When others fail us or failed us big-time, it is harder to believe that God is any different.

This morning in church it was brought home to us in a different light, more from the psychology of relationship. It spoke to me. The speaker wondered in an plausible voice making a case, if those who had or have less than what they need(ed) in their home of origin, those who had a missing component of love from a parent, caregiver, or guardian, those who struggle with attachment in some way, if that person has a harder time believing in God's love? Do they believe that God loves them, and can they receive God's love for them? As soon as the speaker said this, a young man in the audience burst out weeping. His mother put her arm around him. I know some of his story, and there is a reason this hit home with him (and I don't know it from his perspective). Wounds and betrayal cause isolation and conflicting emotions that mark the internal compass. For some, the understanding of this can be confused by another layer, a sense of not measuring up to God's expectations which really is about performance and approval rather than acceptance and love. I reject this belief. Yet, it bound me at one time also. God loves all of us well. It is in God's character to do so.

A couple of days ago I decided to re-read the book, The Shack. This time, I decided to collect some background information on the author before reading through it again. Several things grabbed my attention. First off, he and I are the same age  (ta-da!). Secondly, during his earliest years his missionary family lived in Papua, New Guinea. He was sent off to boarding school at age six. From that point on, in many respects, it sounded like Wm. Paul Young's life was inadequate in providing some of the securities that make for wholeness.  He mentions some abuse. The source of this information was from Wikipedia and Young's website. Knowing this has shed a total different light on his book, The Shack. I feel that I am reading about Young and how he works through his feelings about God in relationship to the pain he received at the hands of others. His sense of betrayal from God. The book is a type of allegory. It is about pain, shame, and fear, and it is about someone who doesn't trust God and who seems to have just-cause for this when God seemed to turn his back on him. We follow a wounded person's path to healing of his emotions, and how he finds God to be good.

It is mesmerizing for me to read the book now after gleaning the author's personal story. It ties in to the earlier mention of lack of attachment to God. The Shack is fascinating in that it shows the process of finding God when someone's been damaged by life and has lost their way. The author's perception of God transcends religiosity. He is on to something. I believe his message in this book exposes the truth that dispels the lie. The hidden lie that is secretly considered even though it's not often admitted, that sometimes it feels like God really isn't trustworthy or loving because he doesn't intervene when the bad things happen. Mackenzie, the main character, is shrouded with something he calls, The Great Sadness. It is the sadness of lost hope and the voice of pain, a shadow of darkness that accompanies his walk. 

Believe me, this happens in real life all the time. Books are full of stories similar to this. I've had periods of this hopeless state shadowing my steps. In the story, on page 128, Father God "Papa" shows Mack Mack's own truth, that he has judged God and found God wanting.  Mack is shown by God, that he cannot produce fruit built on a trusting relationship with God if he does not know that he is loved by God. Trust and love are either present, or they aren't present. Papa says to Mack, that he is not "justifying" in his relationship with Mack. More importantly, he is "redeeming" it. (I don't have permission to quote the book, but wish I could!) In time, Mackenzie is set free of The Great Sadness and is able to move forward to freedom. Even though the imagery in the book can be off-putting for some, I find the depiction and explanation of God's work to be similar to my understanding. One must read the deeper meaning to "get" this book. It's written to teach and to guide the broken hearts and the disappointed believers in God. God has set me free in much the same way as Mackenzie in The Shack.                                                                            

God loves you. Ask for his love to open up for you if it is difficult for you to feel loved by him. The bad stuff is in its own category. It will own you if you let it. Instead, let God own it for you. He wants to heal, love, and free you. Come to Jesus.

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