Some of you may know my and Eli’s story. (If not read here and here)
The doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival and told me to abort him because of the potential risk to me. I was told I had cancer and that the longer I carried him, the more likely it was that I would die. Through God’s grace, I was able to choose life for him.
And God did the impossible.
He healed my body, so that I had not a trace of cancer. He saved Eli’s life and let him beat the odds and be chromosomally whole and normal. God moved mountains and caused us all to watch with our mouths hung wide open.
Because, after all, isn’t that who God is? Isn’t He the God who parted the red sea, fed 5,000, and raised the dead?
Then explain to me how a sweet friend of mine held her twin babies who died at birth, kissing their tiny faces for the first and last time? She has prayed for years to be a mother. She knew their gender, a boy and a girl. She had their nursery done. Their matching cribs in place, ready to welcome them home.
And they died.
Or how about my best friend’s dad. A father to 13 precious children. A man who spent his life discipling others and pointing them to the Lord. A man who was faithful to and madly in love with his wife. A man who, even when diagnosed with cancer, trusted that God could save him and heal him.
And he died.
Why did God let that happen? Why did He save my baby and not hers? Why do I still have my husband, but my dear friend’s mom has to sleep alone. Why do I have a father but 13 children are now fatherless? What kind of a God does that?!
Maybe the issue is not with God. Maybe it is with who we perceive God to be.
“The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
We all know verses like the two above. This is our God. There is no one like Him! And yes, this could not be truer. But do we ever consider verses like these:
“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.” 1 Samuel 2:7-8
‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39
“For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” Job 5:18
We know that God heals, makes alive and exalts. He protects us and defends us. He saves us and redeems us.
But if we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, we also have to believe that it is God who kills. It is God who wounds. It is He who inflicts pain.
But wait. That can’t be right. It just feels wrong to even say those things, much less believe them.
Perhaps the reason it is so hard to believe is because we want to hold on to the God we have created in our minds. A God that, upon hearing our prayers, automatically answers them in the way that we want.
But this is not God. He is not secretly holding out on us and hiding this part of His character. He has written it out plainly for us. He is in charge. He creates life and can end it whenever He pleases. He makes the call, not us.
This can be hard to swallow.
We are naturally stubborn and independent. Rebellious would be a better word for it. We don’t want to live in a world where we aren’t in control. A world where we have no say. A world where we are totally dependent on Someone else.
But regardless of what we want, this is how it is. God is in control and is all powerful. He is most definitely not a puppet that can be manipulated to do what we want.
But before you start to think that God is a tyrant, let’s remember this:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
If we love God and believe in Him, He will cause all things…all of life…the heartache. The joyful times. The successes. The failures. The tragedy. The sorrow. All of it for our good. Our good!!
I challenge you (and myself) today to stop fighting against God’s sovereignty. Stop resisting and just rest. Our Father IS good. He loves us and only wants what will accomplish good in us. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine, because He is making us more and more like Him.
Let’s just trust Him. Every aspect of Him, even the parts that are difficult for us to understand.
One thought on “When God Isn’t Who I Want Him To Be”
Thank you for this, Courtney. It is a joy to read you describe the reality and beauty of following the One that said “I am that I am.” In all things – we can find Jesus and we can be transformed. “Give thanks in all things”- this admonishment from Paul is so essential. For when we acknowledge Him with praise – we are positioning our heart and mind to be set on Him. We always have Him – even in our suffering. And even though we don’t see Him, we believe, and can be filled with an inexpressible joy – if we will only receive it. I love reading what you write and your sincere heart for the Lord. Thank you for example 🙂 You are lovely!