A friend who is going through a bit of rough spot said to me yesterday, "What remains to be seen is how I'll respond to this. Will I decide to believe in God's goodness and love?" From an anguished heart, her mind grasped the reality of God's character and her option to believe it or not to believe it. She's not alone. Following the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, "Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not, 'So there's no God after all,' but, 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'"
I read several blogs, some of which deal with issues of divorce. I read a lot of vindictiveness, bitterness, cries from hurting hearts that have not been healed. It's painful to read sometimes. I could write it all off as a non-Christian's perspective, but a friend in college once wrote that as Christians we're in the same boat as everyone else, a boat that is rapidly sinking and we're bailing as fast as we can. The difference is that our bucket has fewer holes.
Sometimes we think we're supposed to have life different because we have God. We are supposed to live different, but life happens to all of us. We're still sinners surrounded by sinners. Your parents are sinners, your spouse is a sinner, your kids (as cute as they are) are sinners, your friends are sinners. And sin causes things to happen in our lives that really suck. There's no way around that. The question, as my friend yesterday noted, is how you're going to choose to react. Are you going to trust in God's character?
I was reminded of God's overwhelming love today on my ride home from work, listening to an old hymn on an Indelible Grace CD. Read these lyrics:
O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In it's fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Your love.
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus.
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o'er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own.
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o'er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of ev'ry love the best!
'Tis an ocean full of blessing,
'Tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
'Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me.
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!
My friend Lori writes about God's love in her book The Single Truth: "God's love is deep enough to sit down in it, splash it around your arms and legs, relax, and breathe it in. You could float on your back and blow whale spouts with it. Some days we dive in, feel Him around us, and believe in His love. But often we tiptoe around the edges, wondering if we've really been given permission to swim."
Like my friend of the anguished heart, we all have moments or days or months when we are tempted to doubt the love of our Father God. But temptation always culminates in a choice. You can choose to "believe such dreadful things about Him" or you can choose to swim in His love even when it threatens to drown you. I choose to dive in headfirst.