Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Can We Take It?"

     I recently heard a well known preacher suggest that "It's fine to be angry with God when He determines or allows painful things in our lives.  He can take it."  The man has recently endured much tragedy in his personal experience, and used the Psalmists' frequent expressions of discontented questioning as anecdotal confirmation that we can cry out against God when life particularly hurts us.

      First, I understand the temptation to question and blame the the Lord's determinations and allowances.  Been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it.  Moreover, I completely agree that "He can take it."  The question, however, is "Can we take it?"  I don't think so.  Recall that the very first temptation of the human race involved Satan's successful attempt to foment discontent in Eve.  "Ye shall not surely die (if you partake of the fruit God has forbidden).  For God doth know in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5).  In other words, "Eve, God has withheld something from you and Adam that makes your lives less than they should be.  His way is not perfect, and you cannot trust Him."  Our forefathers succumbed to the devil's lie, of course, leading to their own sin and death, as well as the casting of their progeny into the mastery of Satan's lie.  God remained who and what He was.  He could take it.  But Adam and Eve fell from their lofty purpose and reason for being, namely, to love, trust, and honor their Lord.  They couldn't take it.

    "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).  Anger allowed to take root in our hearts against God indicates the failure to understand the perfection of His determinations and allowances.  This is understandable, that we cannot understand. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways not your ways" (Isaiah 55:9).  Our Lord's doings transcend our comprehension by great and inestimable measure.  Thus, it is fine to wonder what He is doing, and why He is doing it.  The Lord Jesus Himself cried in anguish from the cross of Calvary, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).  However, allowing anger and bitterness against God to capture our emotional sensibilities indicates something sinister has been allowed to enter and control us.  Again, discontentment began in human hearts when our original forebears embraced Satanic deception, disastrously for them.  Such darkness continues in the same manner and mode until the present hour. 

    When tempted to be angry with the Lord who so perfectly administers His loving grace in our lives, we do not wrestle with mere human weakness.  The devil and his minions foment such wicked insanity by tempting us to forget that "as for God, His way is perfect."  We cannot take this.  Death ensues, as in Adam and Eve, when we embrace the lie.  For the Christian, this means that we damage ourselves and our fellowship with the Lord in significant ways, beyond our understanding.  Certainly, the Lord can redeem and repair us, as certain of David's Psalms begin with outcries against the Lord, but conclude with faith and affirmation of Divine faithfulness (Psalm 10, for example).  However, we lose time and opportunity to walk in Truth when we distrust our Lord in discontented anger.  Moreover, there is no guarantee that in this life we shall ever extricate ourselves from delusion by availing ourselves of God's grace.  I know people I consider to be genuine believers who have allowed bitterness to have such effect in their hearts that they find it difficult to consistently trust the Lord.  They couldn't take it.

    Again, I fully understand and have experienced the temptation we consider.  It is, however, a temptation.  We must therefore sink ourselves into the Scriptural affirmation of a perfectly faithful Lord who executes His determinations and allowances "for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28).  Much challenge to such faith will confront us at certain times in our lives, challenge that must be overcome by the power of God's presence and abiding truth in our hearts.  Recognizing devilish influence as the origin of discontented anger against our Father will go far in defusing the spiritual bomb our enemies seek to detonate in our hearts.

"I will love Thee, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
(Psalm 18:1-2)

Weekly Memory Verse   
    Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness, and Thy paths drop fatness.
(Psalm 65:11)

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