I was thinking yesterday about how we have a tendency to make life about us. We are, after all, inherently selfish creatures. It started even before we were able to yell out “Mine!” for the first time in our lives.
As we grew older, most of us gained a little more control over our vocal responses, but what about on the inside? Even if we don’t actually believe life is all about us, we still wish it was.
This attitude about life being about us, whether as individuals or humanity as a whole, is something that we tend to carry over into all of our relationships, including the most important one that each of us is supposed to have. You know, that one we’re supposed to have with God.
Relationships. Interesting things, relationships. Surely we understand that in proper, loving relationships, we’re supposed to be spending our lives in the best interests of others.
Husbands and wives are supposed to love one another sacrificially, believing and hoping the best. We are supposed to develop trust — truthful trust.
Then there are parent-child relationships. Again, as parents it’s supposed to be a loving sacrifice to provide, protect, and teach.
Also, there are the friendship relationships. You know those, right? These are the ones in which we’re supposed to have each other’s backs, uplifting one another and defending one another’s reputations.
In other words … relationships are supposed to be about providing love while believing for it in return.
Okay. What about that relationship we’re supposed to have with God? Is it supposed to be any different?
Outside of “having God’s back,” which I’m pretty sure He doesn’t need, aren’t we supposed to be loving and respecting Him—treating Him as if life’s about Him and not us?
Some of you just got tripped up by that question. I can feel it. (I’m kidding. I can’t feel it, because you haven’t been reading silently as I type this out loud.)
We humans are an oddly-thinking bunch. We’ll make sacrifices for many other people, because we believe they need us or need what we have. But because God already has everything, we think His position is that of the guy we should run to with demands and dissatisfaction.
- A friend gets cancer, and many times we blame God.
- Someone’s marriage falls apart and we’re like, “Really, God? You couldn’t stop that?”
- Death hits close to home and we demand answers. “Why?! You could have prevented that if you really cared!”
It’s easy to criticize God and even shake our fists at the sky, because there’s no retribution; He doesn’t argue back.
But why? Why do we blame God? Why do we try to make it painful for God, as if poking Him in the eye to express our irritation and trying to get a response? It’s at these times that I think we’ve forgotten a few things about who God is:
- God’s heart toward us will only ever be good. (Romans 5:8)
- We are the result of His craftsmanship; not the other way around. (Ephesians 2:10)
- He’s got a firm grasp on what’s going on in the lives of those who love Him, and will even work things out for our good. (Romans 8:28)
And … there is something else that we need to keep in mind as believers in the One True God:
This life isn’t about us, even though it is for us.
God created us so that we would BE. He wanted each and every one of us to exist and know LIFE (and still does). He wants us to know joy and happiness and awesome relationships with Him. He wants us to know fulfillment through purpose-filled lives.
It was NOT in His plan to have us suffer in this life, including in our relationships. It’s actually against God’s plan for us to have bad experiences with one another, including our kids and parents. We weren’t supposed to know what it feels like to be stabbed in the back by a friend. None of the sorrows of life were supposed to be ours. We weren’t even supposed to die, for that matter.
All of the bad things that happen in our lives, and the lives of those around us, are all linked to two things: Our Enemy (Satan and his fallen demonic horde) and the Fall of Man. Satan rebelled and began attacking mankind and we, as mankind, rebelled, as well. So much for blaming Satan for everything. We blew it as a race. We brought misery upon ourselves because of the choice that we, as humanity, made to question the heart of God. Did we learn? Maybe a little bit. But we still do question the heart of God.
Here’s the problem we face today as humans: We want. We keep wanting. We will continue to want. And where are most of our wants directed? At God. Now, let me say this before I go any further. God has told us that it’s okay to come boldly into His throne room where we can find mercy and grace in our times of need. Jesus is the one who gave us that instruction, so I’m guessing it’s a good thing to do. But there’s still the problem of thinking improperly about our wants.
We continue to think life is about us.
Anything that is created, be it a refrigerator, a toaster, a car, toothpaste, or even shampoo has both a purpose/function and instructions for proper use. And the thing that is created gets its purpose from the one who created it.
Guess what, gang. We were created, as well.
We get our purpose for BEING from God, our Creator. All life is about Him and for Him. You can rebel against that idea all that you want, but you will never be able to make God submit to your will.
We must link this revelation together with the fact that God’s heart toward us will only ever be good. He will never be evil. He didn’t create you, or anyone that you know, to be His whipping boy (or girl). You were not created so that God can carry out His frustrations on you. That would be impossible, anyway, because God is Love.
God doesn’t have love. He is Love. He will not ever violate who He is.
It’s a great thing that the entire universe was created by someone who is Love. Had God been an evil being, a universe could have been created without any beauty. Imagine an Earth on which there was only pain, because God laughed at misery and created suffering for His entertainment. Imagine everyone always writhing in agony; billions of people who cannot function because He’s having fun ripping them apart or subjecting them to horrendous diseases.
Even at OUR worst, we humans have not subjected the entire world to such unimaginable horrors. Even tyrants like Adolf Hitler showed compassion where and when he wanted (as hard as that is to fathom). Thankfully, the One True God is a wholly good-hearted God!
That said, again, I’d like to touch on a something for which we most blame God: Death.
None of us wants death to approach and consume those for whom we care, let alone touch our own lives. We fight death tooth and nail, clawing at the ground to not be dragged to its door. But all must exit. Death wasn’t a part of the original plan. It came as a result of the Fall of Man (Romans 4:12). It’s something that we brought upon ourselves, and, yet, we poke God in the eye about it.
Death certainly isn’t convenient (for most people). Even in the minds of the most ardent of atheists, the looming event stirs up questions like: “Will this really be the end?” “Will I experience darkness?” “Will my thoughts really be extinguished?”
For those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, yet believe in an afterlife, individuals may ask, “What is on the other side?” “Will I be reincarnated?” “Will I become part of the Universe?”
And for those who KNOW Christ: “What will the transition be like?” “Will I be escorted by an angel?” “Who will greet me first when I get to Heaven?” “I’m about to see Jesus face to face!”
Irrespective of the questions and who’s asking them, for most, death is the reason for ultimate blame. God gets the rap for the sickness or the car crash or the suicide attempts that lead many to death. God gets the criticism for the timing, because, obviously, death should, as a rule, be more convenient. God is the recipient of the troubled or sorrow-filled or angry question, “Why didn’t you prevent it?”
It all comes back to where this blog post stared. We want to believe that this life is about us. We want to believe that we are deserving of all of the answers. We want to believe that God is answerable to us—the created ones.
God’s heart is good. That won’t change. I’m thankful of that, as I’m sure you are (or will be, once you allow it to settle into your hearts and minds).
Something else that all of us should think about, as it pertains to this life and to death: Whatever type of death you and I face, it will become a distant memory as quickly as we find ourselves on the other side of life’s doorway. Friends, we overvalue the life we have on this old earth. That’s primarily because we don’t yet understand what awaits us as Christians in Heaven and on the New Earth that is to come.
One thing is for certain, though… One day, rather than seeing fingers poking in God’s eyes, we’re going to see love in His eyes instead.