“Maybe we have to start redefining how we understand God’s love…”
(Susan May Warren from It Had to be You)
Last time we talked I mentioned that I had asked God a question, “What lie have I been believing that would make it so hard for me to believe You truly love me, that You aren’t out to get me?” I really wanted to know this answer because I thought it might help explain why my mind automatically went to Him being a judge and wanting to punish me when bad things happened.
You see, God had taken me on a journey this year and while our family had trials, I started to realize that the trials aren’t meant as a punishment – they are just part of the bigger picture. Sometimes a person has to experience pain in order to grow. And when God wants us to grow, that’s a good thing because it usually means He’s waiting to use us in a spectacular way.
So, I asked God my question, waited a few minutes and then went about my day. I knew from previous experience that God didn’t need me sitting quietly to hear the answer. If He wasn’t going to answer immediately, I knew He would answer in His time, and until then, there was laundry to do, lunches to pack, and dinner to be made.
As I was bending over the dryer changing out the loads, God gave me a memory… one I hadn’t thought about in years. I was back in elementary school having a conversation with one of my friends who also happened to go to my church. I was asked the question, “Do you fear God?” In my innocence, I answered, “No,” because in my mind, I wasn’t afraid of God. I didn’t have to be. He was loving, kind and just. The response I received back was this, “Well, your dad spoke in his sermon yesterday about how we’re supposed to fear God, so you need to fear Him.”
Then I was reminded of a devotional I had read within the past 24 hours describing the different words for “fearing God.” When the Bible talks about fearing God, it means to revere, respect, hold in high esteem… not be afraid of.
In that moment, God solved the mystery for me. I had innocently accepted a lie that I carried with me into adulthood. I didn’t understand the different meanings of “fear” and never thought to ask my parents for clarification. I thought I was disobeying because I didn’t “fear” God, so it was then the seed took root and grew.
I have since come to realize that while God does allow natural consequences, He doesn’t punish us for fun or because He’s cruel. God tells us over and over in His Word that whatever pain we have to endure during this lifetime, whatever has been lost will be restored, either here on earth or in Heaven, but restoration will occur.
If you are battling health problems and continue to trust God for strength, He will restore. If your finances are struggling and you are obeying God’s strategies for money management, He will restore. Whatever challenge you are facing, if you continue to trust God, He will restore… in His time, in His way.
Come back next time and find out how God used the story of David to further remind me how He loves to bless His children.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015