So many times did the children of Israel sin against God and anger Him, yet when they called on Him in their trouble, God listened (Psalm 107:6). What a comfort to know that God is here, ready to help us when we need Him.
If God had never done anything good for us, we would not be capable of loving Him. He said we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He chooses not to force anyone to love Him, He reveals His goodness to us in many ways. He blesses the righteous and unrighteous as well (Matthew 5:45).
I think that there are a few reasons why God also chooses to bless unbelievers. Since God is outside the realm of time, He already knows who will come to Him in the end. The ones who don’t and will eternally be separated from Him- perhaps God has blessed them in this life so they could have a sense of happiness- at least on Earth?
I also wonder if when they realize these things if their souls will be able to love God at that moment from Hell, or if they will choose to hate Him, and blame Him for their self inflicted fate. By then, they would know the truth of salvation, and how much they missed it by rejecting it. I wonder if they will converse with each other, possibly speaking about their regrets of rejecting the one who created them, and the only one who could save them, or if in their eternity lies eternal isolation?
Though I wonder about these things, I also know that I am not any better than anyone else for the reward I will receive for believing in and accepting Jesus’ free gift of salvation. I also know that this gift is available for every person who is willing to receive it. I am no better than the next but forgiven. God loves His children, and I know that He remains patient before He fixes the mess on Earth because He wants to give everyone a chance to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9).
So many people have said that “A loving God wouldn’t” do this or that. I know that God does what he pleases, yet remains in His character. We don’t need to question God’s character, because He plainly states it in His Word. He never changes or takes back His promises (Hebrews 6:18–20). Unlike humans, He can be fully trusted to do as He says (Numbers 23:19). He is who He says, says what He means, and most of all, no matter what He does, I KNOW THAT HE IS GOOD! (1 Chronicles 16:34)
He is good when we don’t feel it. He is good when we rebel against Him. He is good during our heartache and pain. He is good even when our minds scream at Him that He isn’t. God is good and worthy to be praised (Psalm 145:3). No one who believes and trusts in Him will be put to shame (Romans 10:11). No matter how long it may seem, or different than we thought it would turn out, it WILL be good in the end because God works everything out for the good of those who love Him, according to his riches and mercy (Romans 8:28).
Am I claiming that if we turn to Jesus, everything will be great? Some churches, especially on TV preach that if a person just has enough faith that they will prosper in every way. Usually, they focus on financial prosperity and claim that Jesus doesn’t want you to be poor. Conveniently they then tell you to ‘sew a seed’, and that you will reap back tenfold or whatever number they spit out. Jesus said we will have trouble in this world. Looking around, no one can deny that we have troubles. One thing we humans have in common- troubles of some form. But Jesus also said to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). I used to think in my heart that I just didn’t get it. I thought, OK, Jesus has overcome the world, but what about my misery now on Earth? Since I couldn’t feel any possible way, to “take heart” I thought it must be an unreachable goal for me, and maybe peace was just for the “Holy People.”
I am finding now that the more I pray, seek God, and read His Word, the more I am seeing and feeling how to ‘take heart’, as Jesus said. I am having actual feelings, and clarity of mind that I didn’t think were possible. Instead of a ‘poor me’ attitude, or wanting to sit and complain like before, I am feeling more grateful. After a long time, I am beginning to see the beauty in life that I thought had escaped me. I have been a miserable Christian, trusting God for Heaven, but not much of anything else.
I used to see Christianity as a type of Algebraic equation. It went something like- “If I believe in Jesus He has to save me because the Bible says if we call on the name of the Lord we will be saved.” It was almost like a “Haha God- you have to save me because you promised!” At the same time, I wasn’t developing the fruit of the Spirit we are supposed to begin to develop (Galatians 5:22–23). I had compassion for others, but most humans have compassion to some degree, it didn’t make my situation any more special. I didn’t feel God’s love because I had never been shown that type of love on Earth, and so I had to try to force myself to believe that God loved me. I just believed it in my head, but I couldn’t feel it. I thought if I kept saying the words I would feel them someday.
For a long time though, I had been taught that if we just say an almost magical prayer, with the right keywords, we would be saved from Hell, and could pretty much go on living however we wanted. It seemed like a good deal, but as I continued to live my life the way I wanted to, all I got was an enormous amount of anxiety, a heaping spoonful, or maybe a truckload of ongoing depression, and a very selfish, dissatisfied soul. Now I see how wrong I was. I thought this ‘magical prayer’ would save my soul, but there is much more to be saved than being rescued from death. I wasn’t scared to die, I was scared to live.
At this point, I am not only concerned about my eternal soul, but also my life here on earth. I was waiting to be happy in Heaven and didn’t see how that could be possible here. However, I blame myself for not seeing the truth in God’s Word which was right in front of me. I had unlimited access to a Bible at all times. I still have quite a Bible collection, but sometimes the Bible becomes an almost forbidden book when a Christian gets in a negative mindset. For me, it was out of a sense of condemnation. I felt so condemned as I read it, I got annoyed and frustrated, and a little angry that I was supposed to be reading the Bible at all. I thought it was boring, and had the thought of, “Well, I’ve read the whole thing before so why do it again?” It’s kind of unreal how quickly we can fall away from God, and start to despise His amazing grace shown throughout the Scriptures.
Part of it may be because as the Bible says, we all like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6), as so many times, we are compared to sheep. I wonder if God does this for more reasons than I realized? When I went to the fair a few years ago and had some interactions with a sheep, the sheep jumped back and “Maaaaa’ed at me”. I tried to convince him by softly speaking to him, trying to pet him, but when I looked into the sheep’s eyes and saw the sheep’s reaction to me, it made me realize how unintelligent and frightened a sheep really must be. If it had more sense, it would have known I wasn’t a true threat. Sure, we are smarter than sheep but compared to God’s vast knowledge of everything that has existed for all Eternity we don’t come even a tiny bit close. Any knowledge that we die with won’t matter if we lose our souls.
The good news about being compared to sheep is that God is our GOOD shepherd. The Bible talks about a story of a Shepherd who left his entire flock just to find one missing sheep and compared it to how God acts on our behalf (Matthew 18:12). He loves us so much that He is willing to allow awful things to continue going on in this world so more will be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
God is good, and even when we forget about His goodness, it still remains. When we feel unworthy, He is worthy. When we are weak, He is strong. When we feel alone, He is with us. When we are heartbroken, or as we cry, feeling afraid or trampled upon, He is catching all of our tears, waiting for us to give him our fears, and says that He cares for us. Even when others may sometimes treat us like the ‘scum of the Earth,’ He holds us in His loving hands. He is an All-Mighty, All-Powerful, All-Knowing God who is owed all of our praise. I will honor Him forever and ever, Amen.