My father was six-foot-two-inches-tall man with a big, deep voice who, when I misbehaved, would glower a bit, then simply boom out my name. According to my mom, I’d burst into tears, run toward him, and throw my arms around his knees, sobbing. He would melt. I later wrote a poem about it:
My brothers would run away
Bold and defiant
But I knew much better
How to handle the giant
We don’t have to appease God in the same way. He doesn’t need convincing to be merciful and gracious. But a similarity lies in the fact that I knew Dad to have a soft heart under the authoritarian manner. Do we similarly know the heart of God? Does our attunement to His true character push us toward Him when we feel like running the other way? If not, we may be looking at the wrong source of evidence.
God never tells us to base our assessment of His character on the fortunes or misfortunes of this random, chaotic world. If we do this, our sense of God’s approval will wax and wane with our fortunes. Reasoning from the false premise that the events of life constitute evidence of God’s approval or disapproval, we come to a false conclusion.
God never said things would go well on earth. In fact, He promised they wouldn’t. He said we would have tribulation. But then He said, “Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” How did He overcome? By conquering sin fully on the Cross. God presents the Cross as the primary source of evidence of His love for us. On the Cross we see that there is nothing He wouldn’t do to bring us into His circle. Keeping this in view, we can push through to the heart of God.
Imagine yourself walking toward God as He towers over you. Lightning flashes, thunder rolls. Angels gather around singing holy, holy, holy. You cower, but you walk forward anyway. He reaches down and you see scars in His hands, knowing He died for you. He takes you joyfully into His warm, safe arms.
Pray with me. Dear Heavenly Father, Life is hard. But You, oh, Lord, are good. We see the evidence of that goodness first and foremost in the fact that You were willing to give Your life on the Cross. Through that we have unfailing, irrefutable evidence that You love us, deeply, personally, and completely. Thank You, Lord for that Gift.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33