Doubts about God
For the last three months, on Fridays, we have considered the challenge of doubt. We often wrestle with our thoughts often. The biblical authors, especially in psalms, struggled with doubt. We see it regularly in psalms, such as in Psalm 13:1: “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” Doubt is nothing new to the 21st century.
When you and I have doubts about God, it frequently boils down to doubts about His faithfulness and/or doubts about His love. Will God keep His promises? In 1 Kings 13:1-10, God sends a prophet to rebuke Jeroboam for his lack of loyalty to the Law of Moses. At that time, the prophet predicted that a man by the name of Josiah would desecrate the altar that Jeroboam had set up to offer incense to false gods.
If you fast forward to 2 Kings 23:15-16, you see the fulfillment of this promise. The key point, though, is that 350 years have passed since that first prophecy about Josiah was made! Three hundred, fifty years! God does not forget His promises. In fact, the phrase “according to the word of the Lord” is a strong theme that runs through 1 & 2 Kings, appearing 25 times.
God is, indeed, faithful to His promises. According to 2 Peter 3:9, 1,000 years can pass by and God will not forget His promises. God has promised to save us. He has promised to bless us. He has promised to provide for us. God is faithful.
What about the love of God? Sometimes bad things happen to us or we suspect bad things will happen to us and we doubt the love of God. Consider, first, the writing of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:12-17. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven when we sincerely repent of that sin. Paul is an example to those who believe that the grace of God is deep and wide. A murderer, a blasphemer, a violent aggressor, a persecutor of Christians - forgiven. Sanctified. Justified. Wiped clean. If Paul can be saved by the love of God, anyone can be saved by the love of God.
Meditate on the writing of John in 1 John 4:7-14. God is, by nature, love. We tend to love others based on their response to us. If they do not give us the time of day, we forget them and move on. We, humans, tend to be self-centered. Even Christians sometimes believe that God can’t love us as we are because He can’t get anything out of us. “What can I give to God?” we wonder. “I’m not doing as much as I should be doing!” we chastise ourselves.
But within each of us is the image of God - the spirit for which Christ died to redeem. It may be polluted by our selfishness and our sinfulness but Christ will remove that. Christ wants to take away that which separates us from the love of God.
When we reflect on the sacrifice of Christ each week during the Lord’s Supper, we ought to be reminded that - Yes! - God is faithful to His promises and - Yes! - God loves even me.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Your fellow-servant in Christ,
Veritas non verba magistri