Our Good Father
Mark 10:15 “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” ESV
The Bible tells us God is good. (Mark 10:18, Psalm 31:19, Zechariah 9:17) My personal experiences with God also tell me that God is good. He brought my husband back unharmed from war. He has saved me from physical harm several times. He has always provided a home, in a nice neighborhood, with good schools for our children, even when I was anxious and worried about finding a place to live before we moved. And when I doubted that where we were ending up was the right place for us, it always turned out to be a wonderful blessing.
I'm not saying things always turn out perfectly, but we have consistently wound up in a place where the good far outweighs the bad.
When we purchased our current home, we went under contract 48 hours before the state shutdown. We had no idea the shutdown was coming, or that our orders would get changed, and so, we proceeded through the negotiations under the assumption that we would move on time.
The owner needed to close a month later than we did, and we had no choice but to accept because competition for houses was already high. This would mean a month long stay in an extended stay hotel while our household goods went to storage. As it turned out, due to the shutdown, our move was delayed, and the extra month actually worked out perfectly.
See, God is good! He knew what would happen, and He led us down the path that was most beneficial for us, even though we couldn’t see it. His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) God can see the big picture. He sees what’s going to happen, when we cannot, and He provides and cares for those who love Him. (Psalm 31:19, Romans 8:28)
I’m ashamed of the times I have cried and railed, being sure that some calamity (really no more than an inconvenience) was about to befall us, which, once all was said and done, turned out to be a great blessing.
And despite all this hindsight and wealth of proof of God’s goodness and provision, I do still, at times, allow myself to get all spun up in anxiety and worry, but I try not to let it get away from me as I once did. I’ve finally learned to remind myself that I’m God’s child, and that He has always taken care of me and my family. Then, I pray and wait and see what wonderful plan the Lord will reveal. I’ve learned to trust our good Father.
As a new Christian, I often pondered what Jesus meant by “receiving the kingdom of God like a child.” Did He mean we needed to be innocent like children? Or was He referring to having an open mind like a child? I’ve watched my own children’s faith journey, as well as how they glean and process any kind of information, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus’s statement is about trust and acceptance.
This morning in church, I chatted with one of the AWANA leaders who teaches the four and five- year-olds. (AWANA is a Bible program that helps children learn and memorize scripture.) She told me about teaching the children that Jesus is the good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. (John 10:1-16) She said as soon as she finished, they began to hop up one by one, with their little hands in the air, saying, “I want to be His sheep! I want to be His sheep!” See, childlike faith.
Like children, I believe we are to accept God as our good Father, without questioning His motives or intentions, without demanding to understand why He does things the way He does, or constantly questioning His authority. When our children are little, they accept our answers and the things we do for them out of trust and love, instinctively knowing in their hearts that mom and dad love them, will take care of them and do what’s best for them. As they grow, their trust in us builds based on past experience. Mom and dad are trustworthy and good because they have proven themselves by their actions. It is the same for me with God.
God is so much bigger and greater than we are that we could never begin to truly understand the way His mind works or why He does what He does. He is ultimately unfathomable - an infinite, perfect, holy Being, whereas we are finite, imperfect, and unholy. He reveals enough of Himself through His word and Spirit to allow us to trust Him and believe in Him, but not so much that our minds are literally blown. We are too limited to ever truly grasp the greatness, majesty, intelligence, awesomeness, or righteousness of God.
There are things we will never understand about God, ever. We will never truly grasp the entirety of His being because we will never be like Him, and man’s stubborn determination to try to make Him fit into a concept that we can grasp inhibits our relationship with Him.
Human inability to fully conceptualize God causes many people to not believe in Him at all, because who He is and how He operates is so beyond their understanding that they insist that such a Being cannot and does not exist.
But as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “…with God all things are possible.”
Most of us know the story of Job. Job was wonderfully blessed by God, having great wealth and many children. In Job 1:8, God calls Job His “servant” and a “blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” Satan challenges God, saying that Job only loves Him because he's so blessed. So, God allows Satan to attack Job. Job loses his children, his wealth and property, and his health.
In the depths of his despair, Job questions God’s motives and His goodness, but Job never turns from God. He never curses God, and he never denies God’s existence. God’s reply to Job’s questioning of Him is found in chapters 38 – 41 of the Book of Job.
God lays out all His wondrous works and says in Job 40:2, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” (Uh, oh!) Then, in 41:11, “Who has first given to me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” (Can’t argue with that.)
Finally, Job gets the point and says in 42:2-3, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job displays repentance, humility, and submission before God.
And Job was blessed with even greater fortune than he’d known before.
We all do that, don’t we? We question God when something happens that we don’t understand or think we don’t deserve, but the bottom line is that we all belong to God. He made us, and He can use us and direct our lives as He sees fit, as it serves His purpose and plan, and it’s not for us to question.
I realize that’s a hard truth to swallow. It’s been hard for me to accept. I am about as independent and stubborn as they come. I’ve questioned Him numerous times, looking up at the sky and yelling, “Why?! Why are You doing this?!?” Sometimes I even ignored what I knew to be right out of a prideful desire to do what I wanted to do! Despite my hubris, He has always allowed everything to work out for my benefit - always. Notice, that I didn’t say it always worked out the way I wanted it to, but for my benefit.
At the end of the day, we have to remember that He can see every moment in time from beginning to end, and He knows how it all plays out and comes together. I have finally come to understand that I am but His servant.
So, dear friends, the next time something happens that we don't understand, we need to remind ourselves that the Bible assures us that God is good, and His ways are just. Deuteronomy 32:4 says it this way, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”
Our awesome Father in Heaven, mere human words and thoughts are too limited to fully grasp or describe Your majesty. How wonderful to serve a God of such unlimited power and ability! We recognize that You are our Creator and that all things in Heaven, on Earth, and beyond are Yours. We praise You for the amazing works of Your hands, and we thank You for Your care and love for us, unworthy as we are. Thank you for being our good Father, and we humble ourselves before You and submit ourselves to Your provision, guidance and purpose in our lives. In Jesus Christ’s holy name – Amen!