Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My questions

This might shock those who know me well, but hey, let's be honest - a lot of us have things we secretly wonder about, but don't say it out loud for fear someone will question our Christianity. And maybe some of us don't have questions anything like this. If not..... well, rah for you. :-) Some of these questions play into my struggle to believe God loves me, and is truly a loving God.

Hell. How can a loving God send people to burn in torment forever. Oh yeah, I've heard the trite phrase "God doesn't send them there, they send themselves there because they wouldn't serve him." Etc. That is true, but why not punish them for a certain lenghth of time, then have them cease to exist. It seems vindictive to burn people forever because they didn't do what He wanted them to do. We are expected to forgive people no matter what they do, whether or not they ever ask forgiveness. We can never retaliate, according to God's Word, ever - yet in the end, He is going to burn forever those who wouldn't obey Him. Seems like overkill. If we burned people to death, we'd be called a sadist - yet the God of the universe is going to burn people forever - not just the murderer and child molestor, but decent people whose only sin was to never become a Christian.

Choice. This one may really shock my friends and readers....... but do we really have a choice? Serve God, or burn in hell forever? Seems similar to putting a gun to someone's head and telling them they have a choice - do what they want, or they will blow your brains out. And don't get me wrong - I don't not want to be a Christian - if that came out right.

God helping. I hear it all the time. People thanking God for answering a prayer - healing a loved one, proving for a financial need, then thanking God for caring, proving, loving, etc. - but what about the flip side of the coin - when He doesn't heal, doesn't provide - how can we still say He cares, He provides - we so easily give Him credit when He does what we ask and need, then if He doesn't, does that mean He doesn't care?

God the father. Jesus likened our relationship to God as children to a father a lot. I struggle with this one. So many times, I have needed something, prayed my heart out - and God remained silent. As it seemed I was going down for the third time in an ocean of despair, it almost felt like God was sitting on the shore watching with disinterest - a human father would do more to help his child most of the time, than God does - or so it seems to me.

Why does He let His children suffer so much? Jesus Himself said something like if an earthly father knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more does God? Yet line real life up to that, and does it hold? I don't have kids, but have 6 nieces and nephews I love to death - if one of them had cancer, God forbid - and I had it in my power to heal it, I would - yet God, who CAN do anything, lets so many of His children suffer.

Struggles. Sure, people get themselves into trouble - addictions to smoking, drugs, etc - but when they genuinely repent, why doesn't God take away the addiction? Why do most people have to struggle with it for the rest of their life? Why is Jesus' blood not enough to wipe out the desire for that addiction?

Defense of God. If God is truly so great and powerful, why do we Christians have to defend Him so much and make excuses. When He doesn't heal - "well, His ways are higher than ours" - etc - I hear it so often. Even when expressing some of my questions to a couple of people, it felt like they were trying to come up with excuses why a loving God doesn't act in ways that help, etc.

So - any thoughts - anyone else out there have questions?


Steve-n-Deb said...

I need to return Randy Alcorn's book to you.

I'm almost afraid to respond for three reasons -- 1) this forum is too short for those kind of questions. We need to sit down for a few hours. 2) you sound like you already know the answers, you just don't like them - or maybe 3) Please take this right - the problem is that the answers make sense intellectually, they are Biblically consistent, they are internally consistent, but they don't appeal to our human nature. The answers eventually boil down to trust God when you don't understand. That puts the control in his court and that makes us uncomfortable. I have students who say (not always in words) "I'll obey you if you convince me why I should" and I can't because they just aren't mature enough yet to understand. We have the same problem with God.

#3 doesn't mean I don't think we should try to answer the questions as I hope #1 and #2 illustrate.

I'd be glad to take some time to talk to you this summer.

Kimmy said...

I know that hell was not created or intended for people. It was made for the devil and his angels. I believe God is very serious about the free will he gave us, and if someone simply chooses not to follow him, then I think God fully honors this and will not force himself on that person in life, or especially in eternity. I've heard it said that the definition of hell is complete separation from God. I've also heard something about different levels of hell? Not sure of the biblical basis on this, but it's worth considering.

Annette said...

Wow, I agree with Steve-n-Deb my answers to you would take longer than this comment box would allow.
Speaking from my own life and what I've gone through.
Just because He is quiet and I'm chatty does not mean He is not listening, it could be that it is not time yet for me to hear from Him, or it could be that I need to be quiet first.
Bad things happen to good people because we live on earth not heaven. I had breast cancer and lost both breasts, why. I'm young I exercise etc, etc, ad-nauseam. But, by living through this experience I share what God did in my life during this time, it is a testimony that He has given me.
We look at sin and prioritize those sins that are worse or less.
It doesn't work that way, all of us--that means all of us are filthy rags compared to the Holy One. It is only by the shed blood of Jesus Christ that we are graced, made clean, forgiven.
Right now I am working on this last one, lets just say I had some prejudices that Jesus is working on, chiseling on.
It's not a bad thing to question, it can be a good thing, in that it will draw you closer to Him.
It is not about the outcome or the answered prayer (which is what we focus on) it is about the growth, development, the journey that we transform through.
Right now I have a dear little friend that has liver cancer and today 1/2 of it is being removed. She is 6 years old. Why?
Beyond all of this, even if she does not take another breathe in this earthly life, she will be safe in the father's arms-eternally.