When I Don’t Trust God

How do you handle a lack of trust? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I could have easily titled this “When You Don’t Trust God”, but I know you have that struggle if you’re a Christian already and I think it’s good for you to know that I do. Sometimes in the Christian world, those of us in ministry can sometimes be seen as if we are above the day to day struggles. We have the answers to the questions and we have the good theology. Our lives work out well.

That is a lie.

John Piper is well known for his Desiring God concept, but he also wrote “When I Don’t Desire God.” It’s a personal book. I haven’t read that yet, but I don’t deny for a moment it’s true. There are times that John Piper does not desire God. So it is that there are times I don’t trust God.

And folks, this is what faith really is. I am not for one moment doubting His existence. If people say I believe in God for emotional reasons, they are entirely missing the boat. I am convinced because of my rationality which makes the emotional struggles all the harder.

I am not even questioning His goodness. I do know God is 100% good. The problem is that doesn’t bring me comfort at times because there’s a part that wants to say, “If this is what goodness really looks like, then I could do with a little less good in my life.” As C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed after the death of his wife

“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and
I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me
about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect
that you don’t understand.”

Lewis has much to say about the goodness of God. He talks of people who say they are not afraid because God is good. Have they never been to a dentist before? I had a surgery job done in my teenage years by a good doctor, the one considered the godfather of scoliosis surgery. I am sure the staff at the children’s hospital consisted of good people. I still struggled for a year with walking on my own for a good operation done by good people.

There are times you look at what’s going on in your life and wonder “How did I get here?” A lot of the self-help people will say “You are responsible for your own life and your outlook on it.” We are told that in groups like AA, nothing can heal until a person accepts responsibility, but after that everything can heal. Therefore, for your life, you need to accept responsibility.

That can be good advice, but it really only works insofar as you are directly responsible If you tend to take good care of your body and you get cancer, are you to take responsibility for that? If your child is killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, are you to take responsibility for that? If you lose your home in a sudden natural disaster, are you to take responsibility for that?

Now keep in mind that in all of these disaster scenarios, I am not at all you saying you don’t own your responses to them. Some people beat cancer and some don’t and one of the #1 reasons for who does and who doesn’t is often attitude. There’s the old saying that one person says “I can” and the other says “I can’t” and both of them speak truly. Even if you physically can’t beat cancer, as sometimes the best attitude in the world won’t overcome, you can still choose how to live the remainder of your life.

There is a sense in which our struggles come from within in what we tell ourselves of the things around us, but do they not play a role? Suppose I am walking down the street on a daily walk for exercise. Now I am a typical guy with my book and playing some Pokemon Go as I travel and I turn to walk down the street and way off at the end of the street, I see a bear.

Rest assured, that never happens here, but this is a big for instance. Am I going to suddenly have anxiety? You bet I am, and while we can say that that can largely come from what I tell myself about the situation, there is no doubt the stressor is there, such as if the next thing I saw was tranquilizer guns shooting the bear and knocking it out and Animal Control coming and putting the bear in the back of a secure vehicle, I would have some aftershock anxiety, but I would be a whole lot better off.

In these times, people come and they mean well but they often say things that are so mundane. They’re true, but not helpful. You are told “You need to trust in God.” Wow. What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Yes. And when you are rolled into that operating room and going under the knife and don’t know what will happen, just trust the surgeons. You can be told that all you want, but it won’t change the reality. When your walk with God is going well, it’s easy to tell someone else to trust in God. No. I don’t want it to be that while I’m in the foxhole and the bullets are whizzing over my head that someone from HQ messages me and says “Trust in God.” No. Come and really get in the trenches with me and I will better hear what you say.

The reality is we know we ought to, but we are majority blind fools in many ways. Yes. We know God works all things for good to those who love Him. Yes. We trust that if God allows it, He does so for our good as well. Here’s what that doesn’t change. It hurts. It hurts and when we look at where we want to be, where we want to be seems so far away we don’t know how we can ever get there.

Let’s also keep in mind none of us trusts God entirely. If we did, we would never sin. We do. We fail every day. I would certainly hope my Catholic and Orthodox readers would have understanding of a great quote of Martin Luther. The gospel is just one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. We’re all wounded on the journey in some way and we’re traveling with other people who are wounded. Maybe right now you’re in good health. That’s great, but remember as you tell me about the joy of Christ that I know somewhere is true, but rings hollow now, that sometime in the future if we both are living, there will come a time when you are in the valley of suffering and the last thing you will want to hear about in some ways is the joy of Christ because it is not resonate with where you are.

In an odd way, what is comforting to hear about now is not joy, but suffering. Tell me about Joseph being in prison and telling the cupbearer and baker, “Please tell Pharaoh about me and get me out of this prison.” Joseph had found favor with God and was serving well and the warden had put him in cause, but he knew he was there wrongfully and while conditions could not have been better for him than they were, he still wanted out. Tell me about Daniel being thrown in the den of lions when his only crime was being faithful to His God. Tell me about Jesus begging to go to the cross. He had prayed “If there be any other way, let this cup pass through me.” Do we not think the Father would have loved to have been able to say “Actually, there is another way we can bring salvation to the world. The cross is not necessary.”

You see, the future is a place that is far off and distant. As a child, my family and I used to go to Myrtle Beach on vacation. It was in South Carolina and we started in Tennessee. At four in the morning when we’re heading out, the beach seems like an eternity away. You want to get there and we know the constant refrain of children. “Are we there yet?”

The children are realists though. They trust that their parents want to get them to the beach and to do so safely and know how to get there, but the child only sees miles and miles of interstate that look exactly the same. Telling them about the pleasures of the beach on the way sounds distant and hollow. It is the same way as when Peanuts refers to Christmas as being on top of a steep hill. The closer you get, the steeper the hill gets.

We often say that God is there when you are suffering, and it is true, but it is often still not much consolation in honesty. Lewis again writes that when life is good, God seems to be everywhere to the point where He can practically seem as if He’s so overwhelming you that you don’t enjoy your life. However, when you are in need and when you want to experience Him the most, the door is slammed in your face it seems. Being told God is there is no more a comfort than the child being told Christmas is coming or that they are on their way to the beach. It is met with a “Yes, but” and that is not helpful.

There’s a story that the great composer Beethoven had a friend who had suffered a great tragedy. The musician went over to his house and rather than see the friend, sat down and played the piano for half an hour and then left. The friend regarded that as the most helpful visit of all. Somehow, the music Beethoven played shared his longing and sympathy for his friends. As we often say, talk is cheap. Show me your actions instead.

At times like this, it is hard to trust God, but at those times, what reveals us most is not really our words but our actions. Everything I am writing in this post goes with what I am going through right now. Some of you know what’s going on. Some don’t. I don’t want to say here what it is. Either way, to quote the common saying, “The struggle is real.”

The actions though are still where it’s at. If you meet someone who is still trying to serve and do the right thing for the Kingdom even when it is hard, be thankful, though I would say at the time inwardly. There are many times for all of us it would be easier to throw in the towel altogether and give up. Go ahead and lie in bed all day and do nothing. Close the windows and curse the light.

Again, we have to refer to Lewis. Those Christians that still get up and serve regardless are the ones facing the struggle the most. It is easy to serve the Kingdom when everything is going your way and you’re prospering in all or most areas of your life. When you have struggles with God and you still serve, that is the hardest.

And maybe in reality, is it not entirely a lack of trust of God. I could just as well argue it is the pain and suffering that is trusting the most. Who would we say would be trusting God the most? A Pollyanna Psalmist who only wrote Psalms of praise and thanksgiving, and there is a time for such Psalms, or one who writes also the Psalms of lament and suffering. This is the Psalmist who trusts God with what he really thinks about this world. The Hebrews writer tells us to boldly approach the throne of grace, and it is the true person who knows that God is real and comes to help that feels safe enough to boldly come to that throne to register a complaint. Job had his own accusations against God and even though he darkened God’s knowledge without counsel, he was declared in the end to be the one who also spoke rightly, unlike Job’s friends.

As I think, it could be that you could say I am not trusting in God when I worry about the future, and that is true, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trusting in God at all. I’m still trusting in Him that I can go to Him with my complaints. I’m trusting Him that I can go to Him and tell Him what’s wrong. I’m trusting Him that I can go to Him and tell Him that I don’t like the way things are. I can even go to God and trust Him when I want to outright accuse Him of some statements. I can do this knowing they are not true, but still saying “This is how I really feel at the moment.”

To my atheist readers also, this is what faith in God means. Let’s drop this nonsense that faith in God means knowing that He exists. James dispels that one easily in his epistle. Faith in God is trusting Him and in that case one could say in spite of the evidence, because of the wrong evidence. It is not the evidence of simply present reality. It is the evidence of all that He has done in the past and the character of who He is. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where faith takes place. Faith is a willingness to follow God and His commands even when for the time being, it appears to profit you nothing. It’s easy to follow your commanding officer when you think he’s ready to send you back-up at any moment and you only need to hold off the enemy for a short time. It’s hard to when you can’t reach him and you don’t know where he is, but it is the true person who trusts his officer who still keeps firing away at the enemy regardless.

Thus, there are times I don’t trust God and what am I to do? Act. Act accordingly anyway. I have learned in all of my emotional struggles, that they don’t really last a long time. There are many times that I am in the valley and each time I think, “This is the worst valley I could ever be in!” and at the time, I think I am right, and a few years down the road, I find myself in a worse one. Every time I have been brought through. Sometimes, I have been brought through kicking and screaming and not wanting to trust the hands that want to carry me through, yet still I make it a point to go on. Where else will I go?

If anything, I think it would also be good if we Christians often dropped the spiritual platitudes we still too often share. We often act like intense struggle is the exception in the Christian life. It is not to be. It is the rule. It is how we handle those sufferings that will reveal who we are and the world will see us. It’s easy for the world to know we are Christians by our love if we rejoice and love when everything is good. They do that as well! It’s how we will handle the crucible of pain that will reveal our love the most. If we are showing love, it is to people who need that love the most intensely. They may even as we do with God at times smack our hands away in anger and want nothing to do with us, but we still love.

If you are also in the time when you are not trusting God, you are not alone. Trust if anything requires it being difficult to trust. It is easy to think about how the laws of science work so well when you are going about your day to day mundane life. If you have to get on a space shuttle and fly out where everything you do, including your return to see your loved ones on Earth again, depends on how well people are calculating the laws of science and how well they work, it could be different. I cannot speak on that, but it would be interesting to ask an astronaut someday if I could. Maybe I will see if I can track one down. Actually, I’m doing that right now. Perhaps that’s a future blog post.

And also if you are there, I am not going to give you platitudes. Just know that in my own way, I am also walking through it. None of us are where want to be entirely yet. All of us are still works in progress. When you meet me on my journey, it might be best to not talk. Just grab another sword and walk alongside me together. Even if we walk in silence, at least we walk together facing the next day.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

FF XIV and Trusting God

Do we really trust the promises of God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, a friend told me that the basic game of Final Fantasy XIV was free on the PS4. I went and got it and we have been playing it with a friend of mine who started playing ten years ago on PC. Why wait? Because I normally have not really been one for PC games. I prefer console games instead.

So here I am, a character who’s relatively weak at the start but working my way up, and then my friend who has played for years who if he wanted to could obliterate me with just a wave of his hand. Nothing I encounter at this point would make my friend blink at all. Of course, later bosses and battles would, but for right now, nothing I face.

So last night I get home and decide to get some gaming in before I go to bed and go and fight a battle on the overworld that is called a Fate battle. This is one that gives some good experience bonuses, but has a harder battle against several smaller enemies or one larger enemy. My friend had helped me with one the day before and it worked out well. He’s not there now, but I’m a good player. Let’s just see how I do.

So I go and before too long remember that discretion is the better part of valor as I am getting my tail kicked. As I run hoping to find a place to recover, I notice I am being followed by a few creatures and fear that I will be defeated before too long. Then, in that moment, most of the creatures around me get defeated immediately.

Unknown to me, my friend had been on and showed up right at that time to defeat the creatures chasing me and provide the healing my character needed. What do I do then? Run straight back to that battle I had fled and go and kick tail this time. After all, I have my friend with me who will be making sure nothing happens to me. Why do I need to be afraid?

This wasn’t a first-time occurrence. Every time I do these battles now when he’s with me, I keep thinking there’s good theology right there. Why don’t I have that same kind of trust in God? If God says He is with me, why do I live my life many times in great fear?

Granted, there are ways the analogy breaks down. I am never told God is with me so therefore I can rush into anything whatsoever and God will make sure that nothing happens to me, but I am told that no matter what happens to me, if I love God, He will work it for my good. It’s easy to say when things are good, but as soon as something happens that I think shouldn’t happen, it’s easy to think God’s not doing what He’s supposed to do.

But in general, I find it’s often easier to trust people that I know who are fully capable of letting me down and have let me down in the past instead of trusting the one who has never let me down, even though there have been plenty of times I thought He had. I have numerous past experiences of thinking “Well if God was working here, this is what He would do.” (Obviously, I, a finite human being with highly limited knowledge have the wisdom and knowledge to tell God, who has infinite wisdom and knowledge, what He should be doing.) Give it some time and before too long I’m saying, “Okay. I see I was wrong again. Won’t happen again.” Well, we all know it does happen again.

Every time I rush into a battle with my friend there fearing nothing will happen to me, I hope I will approach God in a similar way. Will I trust Him just as much with my well-being? Will I believe Him who has never failed in His promises?

I hope.

(And if you want to find me in game, my character is named Phoenix Skywing)

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Shiro and Suffering

What can life with pets teach us about suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you come to our apartment, you will quickly find out who really rules the roost. No. It’s not me. Well, obviously, it must be the wife. No. It’s not Allie. The undisputed ruler of our house is this guy.

This is Shiro. We got him when we had been married for about a year. We were searching for a new apartment to live and someone had abandoned him. They were going to take him to the pound if we didn’t do anything. Now we are different from most couples in that I have always been a fan of cats and Allie has preferred dogs, but this cat is different. She bonded with this cat immediately. We wound up adopting him.

No regrets.

Oh sure. Sometimes he gets on our nerves. Sometimes it’s really annoying to be wanting to sleep in the morning and hear that little kitty whining relentlessly because he wants to be fed. Such is life. We get a cat and we get the responsibilities. It’s worth it. Allie gets a great sense of joy when she’s sitting or lying on the couch and he jumps up right next to her.

Knowing this, picture our concern when we hear him making a noise that sounds like he’s throwing up on Wednesday morning. This has happened. He gets hairballs. Not this time. There’s blood there. We make an appointment for the vet.

So enter step one of the suffering for Shiro. We have to get him and put him in his kitty carrier. He’s not happy about that. One can picture him if he could thinking, “If these people love me, why are they locking me in this tiny confined area?” Sometimes on the road, he would get quiet. I told Allie that I suspected he had just resigned himself to his fate and knew he wasn’t escaping.

Step two of suffering is the vet itself. If any serious work is done on our cat, he has to be sedated because he turns fierce on those he doesn’t trust. We saw him in a vet office running around on the counter and hissing. He had apparently peed on himself in the carrier probably out of fear. When it came time to get him back in, it took two technicians working with gloves and a blanket to get him back in.

Allie was surprised by this, but not I. I was kind of expecting it. Shiro’s a lovable little guy to us, but he just doesn’t trust strangers and hey, which of us would really mark going down to the doctor as a favorite hobby of ours? Even more so when it’s at the hands of people you have given trust to.

Now step three. Three times a day we have to give him medicine. What does that involve? We can’t put it on his food or in his water. Nope. In case of a stomach ulcer, we have to take these pill halves, crush them, and then use a syringe and squirt the water from it in his mouth. First, we have to catch him. Then we have to hold him securely in a towel like a kitty burrito, and finally, we have to somehow get him to open his mouth without biting at us.

Not easy.

How many times we wish we could get him to see. If he would just work with us and not resist, it would all be done quickly and easily. Instead, he sees our hands and that syringe as threats to him instead of tools to help him in his health. I can’t blame him. He’s a cat. He wouldn’t understand if I tried to explain.

And every time I think about the problem of evil. (Yep. I’m a theology nerd.)

The difference between us and a cat is vast. The difference between us and the infinite God is even better. Am I much better? Do I not resist the hands of the potter? Do I think that the event in my life that is meant to chisel me into the likeness of Christ is really something for my harm? Do I really think God allows something into my life because He just wants to see me suffer or delights in my pain or something like that? Do I really think God is a great cosmic sadist?

Maybe if I just went along and submitted and allowed God to use the pain in my life somehow, things would work better. Of course, there are some distinctions. I think we should be hesitant to say God is directly doing something in our lives without strong evidence, but we can be sure that all that happens in our lives happens because God allowed it.

Yet if we believe Scripture, Romans 8 tells us that all things work for good to them that love the Lord. Are all things good? No. The text doesn’t say that. It says that everything will be used for good. That means no matter what happens in our lives, ultimately, we win.

Does that mean we don’t complain about suffering? No. The Psalmist does it. Does that mean we don’t cry in it or feel the pain? No. Again, the Psalmist does the same. Does it mean we don’t question? No. Same answer. It does mean that we do also what the Psalmist still does. We trust God anyway.

What does that look like? It means we keep going and we do the right thing even in the face of suffering. Suffering is never a justification for doing what is wrong. Do the right thing and give honor to God still. It could be God doesn’t explain it to us because He can’t. It’s not because of some limitation on His part, but because of one on ours. For all we know, it could involve events hundreds or thousands of years in the future.

And really, you’re not owed an explanation. It’s quite arrogant to think God should tell us XYZ. If He doesn’t tell us, it’s for our good. Perhaps if we knew we couldn’t be shaped the way we need to be.

And meanwhile, pray for our little Shiro. Things have been going well for him. We think it was most likely a new food we tried to give him. There has been no blood vomited at all, but he’s our little joy here and we are happy to have him around.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Your Facebook Isn’t Helping My Skepticism

Is what you’re sharing making it harder for someone to come to Christ? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Why should you be cautious about what you share on Facebook? Could it affect someone long-term? What would someone say to us if they could speak to us about this?

“Dear Christian,

I have been your friend for awhile and I see you post sometimes on Facebook. I like you posting pictures of your family and such and some of those funny videos. I understand you will also post from time to time on things that we disagree on and that reasonable people can disagree on. You can post on politics for instance and even if I don’t share your views, I understand that someone can be reasonable and still have them.

I also understand that you have a right to be skeptical of claims as well. If you’re skeptical of evolution, well I don’t share that, but I can understand it. Yet at the same time, I worry that you claim skepticism here, but when it comes to something that agrees with you, you’re not skeptical. I also do not see you as really investigating claims.

Why? Because when I see you post something on Facebook sometimes, it’s something that I not only know is false, but I can readily demonstrate it’s false. I can tell that it’s a story that has been made up and has no factual basis. I can understand getting caught from time to time. We all make mistakes. I am talking about regularly doing this kind of thing. Why should I trust you to be posting the truth when I can see that what you shared is false in just a couple of minutes of looking it up?

You see, you make this claim that to me is incredibly bizarre. You claim that God lived among us as a man 2,000 years ago and died on a cross and rose from the dead. I’m sure you’d agree with me that that’s a strong claim. You say that you base your entire life on this claim. You say that this is the most important belief that you hold.

The problem is that this isn’t a belief that I can as easily check. I will have to do a lot of reading and study on the topic and decide what to believe. Yet when you share readily stories that are false that I know to be bogus or can easily show to be bogus, why should I trust you on the matters that I cannot reasonably check so easily? How do I know that you aren’t just as gullible when it comes to religion as you are when it comes to a story you read on the internet?

You see, I want to know that you check all the claims you make to the best of your ability. If you’re not, then maybe you’re not with this claim, and there are plenty of Christians out there I meet who give me no reason to believe their story beyond what they feel and their personal testimony. They have no idea whatsoever about historical research. Maybe you’re just like them.

In fact, I can tell you’re being objective if there’s an argument that would help your conclusion and you reject it because the argument just doesn’t work, even if you agree with the conclusion. It shows me you’re interested in more than just a goal. Truth is what matters to you.

If truth does matter to you, please show it. Take the time to look up a story before sharing it. If I cannot trust you with the stories that I can check, why should I trust you with the stories that are much harder to check?

Your skeptical friend.”

 

 

To be fair, there are far too many skeptics who will fall into this boat as well and many skeptics are just like Christians when it comes to this. My main problem is with Christians doing this since we are supposed to say that we are people of truth and committed to the truth. Many skeptics will not be as reasonable as the person that I have role-played and it is a rare exception when I meet one who is willing to read the literature.

I have said it many times but it often needs to be said. Please check on what you share Christian. Every time you share something easily shown to be false, you destroy your credibility in the eyes of unbelievers out there. Why should they trust you on the major things when they can’t trust you on the minor things?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Shiro Taught Me About Trust

Can our feline friends have something to teach us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’re a reader of my blog, there are facts about me you might have noticed. One you might have known is that my wife and I recently moved to Atlanta where I could assist my father-in-law, Michael Licona, with his ministry. The second is that we are cat owners. Our kitty is a white ball of fur named Shiro, the Japanese word for white.

Shiro

Shiropose

We moved on Wednesday and the Tuesday night before, we cleared all the furniture out of our old house. We spent the night next door with my parents. We did, aside from our little Shiro since my parents have two cats already and Shiro up there would have been a recipe for chaos. Shiro stayed at the old house on Tuesday night. We stopped by to feed him on our way home from going out to eat of course.

When we went down the next morning, and we had been eager to check on him, he really wanted nothing to do with us. It took awhile to even get him to eat anything, but he looked at us entirely with distrust. From a cat’s perspective, it’s understandable. He had just had his world turned upside down. Unfortunately, to get him in his kitty carrier, we essentially had to trap him in a room and I had to just grab him and he had to be put inside it, and of course, he never likes that.

We had given him something from the vet meant to calm him down and we were pleased that he did not whine as much as we thought he would on the trip, but at the same time, I wondered if he had a defeatist attitude. Had he resigned himself to a negative fate? After all, we had rescued Shiro at an apartment complex where his old owners had abandoned him. What if he had thought that was happening again?

All the while I kept wanting to explain to him that he would like where he was going. We were doing this to him because we love him and we wanted to have him with us on our journey. We got him here and I had Allie go to a master bathroom connected with the master bedroom and just stay with him. When we got more furniture in the bedroom, we were able to let him out and let him stay in those two rooms.

He ran and hid under the dresser.

The next few days were concerning for us. It was like we couldn’t get Shiro to eat anything. He stayed hidden all day long. We talked to our vet back home and several friends who are cat owners who assured us that this was normal behavior. It was really hard on us that we did all this for Shiro because we wanted to have him with us everywhere and yet he hid and treated us like threats.

Already now, it looks like things are back to normal. As I sit here and write this, it is almost time to feed him and he is doing his best to make sure that I know that. I regularly hear him whining. He has a new cat tree now courtesy of my mother-in-law. He still hasn’t really explored it yet, but give it time. He sometimes still wakes us up at night, but he’s just getting used to the timing.

So what does this have to do with anything?

The difference between a human being and a cat is quite large. What difference is even larger? The difference between God and a human being. We’re talking with God about a being who knows everything, including all of the future, and He knows how everything will work out. We’re also talking about, if we’re Christians, a being who has done more than enough to demonstrate His love for us.

And yet as soon as something happens that we don’t understand, we’re just as prone to think that God has wronged us or is going to abandon us or isn’t looking out for us. It never occurs to us that things that seem painful and disturbing to us could be for our good. We just look at what we’re going through and then think only about that experience and don’t look at how God will use it.

We cannot literally do it, but in some ways we try to hide from God. We don’t go about our lives as we normally would when we think we have His favor. Oh when we think we have His favor we can tell everyone about the goodness of God and we can pray and read our Bibles and worship happily, but when evil strikes or even just something we don’t understand, we quickly change all of that.

A lot of times we might want an answer, but could we really handle one? What all might God have to explain about the future that we couldn’t possibly understand? I would have loved to have been able to talk to Shiro and tell him why everything was happening as it was, but he would not understand. If I cannot explain the ways of man to a cat, how much harder would it be to explain the ways of God to us, mere human beings?

What’s really sad is that with a cat, we could say a cat doesn’t know better, and in essence we’d be right, but we do know better. We as Christians do know all that God has done for us in the past. We know that He sent His son for us, and yet when evil strikes, we forget all about that.

In fact, this is often where our pride steps in. We treat ourselves like the exception. Oh sure, God will do that for everyone else and God loves everyone else, but not me. It’s like we go to John 3:16 and see that God so loved the world, except there’s that little asterisk that has next to it supposedly “Except Steve” or “Except Kim” or “Except Mark.” We read in Romans 5 that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, unless you’re John, Margaret, or Tyler.

Pride and shame are two sides of the same coin. In both cases today, we use them to treat ourselves as if we’re exceptional. We’re either exceptionally greater than we think or exceptionally worse than we think and we put whatever that is on God. Unfortunately, we are being just like Shiro. There is a world of good out there waiting for us and we refuse to come out and enjoy it because we do not trust in God.

You see, I can look at Shiro and think “Shiro. We do everything for you. We shower you with love constantly. We protect you from everything and give you so many good things. Why is it that as soon as we do something that seems different, you act like we’re out to get you?” Whenever I think like that though, I can often picture God looking at me and saying “Good questions. I’ve been asking you them for years.”

So right now, there’s a little white ball of fur in the doorway of my office here. I’m about to go feed him soon and he knows again that he can rely on my hand to take care of him. Will I not take this time to learn more that there is a hand greater than mine that is taking care of me even when it might not look like it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters