Monday, May 9, 2011

Does God suffer more than us?

Does God suffer more than us?  I think it's an interesting and meaningful question.  What do you think?  I hope you'll send me an email or write a comment if you have some thoughts.  These are my thoughts:

I know that some people picture God as an old grandfather, half deaf and half dead.  Others picture him as some cosmic Buddha, with a placid smile always pasted on his face.  But to both of these the Bible says boldly, "Ha ha!"  Even early on in the Bible, when God seems more transcendent, we see him personally interacting with people: walking with Adam and Eve on late afternoons chatting, warning Cain he's heading the wrong way, having mercy on Cain, and finally feeling heartbroken and regretful about making people in the first place and wiping their disease off the face of the earth with a massive flood. 

Then there are the prophets, speaking God's voice, which wails brokenly at times, and shouts furiously at others.  He tells Hosea to marry a prostitute, so the people can understand the jealous anger and heartbreak that God is feeling at their faithlessness.  He sighs with frustration, just like Jesus did before healing a blind and deaf man. Yeah. In case you missed it, Jesus is the clue that God cares very, very deeply.  He wept over Jerusalem, he shouted and whipped hawkers out of the temple,He told jokes and held children on his lap.  DO WE THINK WE FEEL MORE DEEPLY THAN THE GOD WHO MADE US?

Once, when God drew near to me, I was flattened by his passion. His hatred for my sin and his love for me were like a massive sun, and my emotions were little candle flames in its daylight. 

And who, do you suppose cares more about the brokenness of the world we live in?  God right now is present at every rape, at every husband and wife's shouting match, at the scene of children being molested and young men being tortured by others.  He's forced day after day to live with our nearly complete self-absorbtion, all the secret thoughts we have and the smiling masks we paint over them, with our depressions, our hates, our despairs, and our chasing after the passing shadows of this world instead of listening constantly to Him. We don't even know the depth of our own brokenness, and He knows the whole world's.

And if you think He doesn't care about it with every fibre of his Fatherly being, you don't yet know him very well.  DO WE THINK WE CARE MORE DEEPLY THAN THE GOD WHO MADE US?

So, God waits.  He waits to set all things right at last, to heave a huge shuddering sigh of relief and sob in His soul with joy that at last all evil is extinguished and all good comforted and praised.  His love compels Him to wait: to wait until more of His children have turned from the evil that would sweep them away also in the destruction and run into the safety of His light.

So be aware of what God is feeling today: He knows every single broken thing happening, he cares about them more strongly than we do, and he is eager to fix it, pinned back only by his loving patience, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to eternal life."  And meanwhile we His dearly loved children question and doubt him.  Does God suffer more than us?

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