Do I Love This Much?

I have been pondering love. The Bible says, in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. "

The depth of the love of Yah to watch His Son go through such horrible torture at the hand of man and finally death, so that they might live, is bewildering to me. I, in my finite existence, can't imagine sacrificing my daughter, to save others. I just can't imagine doing it. In fact, I can't imagine the sacrifices that many have made throughout history.

Love Shown

Take Dirk Willems, for instance.  

Dirk Willems reached out to rescue his captor. The act of his profound Christ-like love took place more than 400 years ago.  Hounded for his Anabaptist faith, arrested and escaping, Dirk had nearly eluded his pursuer when the man chasing broke through the thin ice of a river. In an expression of a life filled with love that can only come by knowing Yeshua fully, Dirk turned and rescued his captor. Even after this heroic deed, he was taken, arrested and burned at the stake for his faith.

So… do I love this much? Would I be ready to turn around and save my enemy, even knowing that I would most likely lose my life over saving theirs? Its easy to say yes, when we're not faced with the prospect head-on. For now, I must pray that, if I were faced with this situation, I would do just as Dirk did, just as Yeshua did, just as Yah did and give the ultimate sacrifice for love.

31-Days of Prayer For Your Husband

pray for husbandWhat better thing can a wife do for her husband than to pray scripture for him each day of the month! 

1st: That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the Lord. I Thes 5:23, Col 4:12, Eph 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:18.

2nd: That he might grow into a man of integrity, who works righteousness, speaks truth in his heart, does not slander, does no evil, does not take up reproach against friends, honors those who fear the Lord, swears to his own hurt, is unchanging in these things, does not charge interest on loans, and does not take bribes.

3rd: That he might be a man of contentment as seen in Prov 15:16, Phil 4:11, I Tim 6:6-8, and Heb 13:5.

4th: That he might learn to take every thought captive, to not be conformed to the worlds thinking, and to think scripturally. Rom 12:2, II Cor 10:5.

5th: That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him. Psalm 119:1-2, Prov 3:5-6.

6th: That he would ever be captivated by my love. Prov 5:18-19.

7th: That he would be a man of courage. Deut 31:6, II Chron 19:11.

8th: That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Eph 1:17-19

9th: May he always look at the plank in his own eye before seeing others' sawdust. Matt 7:3

10th: That he might become a called man, not driven, with well thought through and prayed through goals in life. I Cor 9:24-27

11th: That he might be a man of prayer, guarding his heart and mind, puting into practice what he has heard, seen and learned. Phil 4:4-9

12th: That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil and resist Satan in all circumstances. Eph 6:10-18, James 4:7

13th: That he might grow in spiritual maturity by putting away childish things, cultivating, understanding, striving after the Christ ideal, partaking of the deeper truths of the gospel and overcoming temptation. I Cor 13:11, 14:20, Eph 4:13, Heb 5:14, I John 2:14

14th: That he might make me holy, cleansing me by the washing with water through the Word. Eph 5:26

15th: That he would learn to not depend on his circumstance for happiness but on God alone. Heb 3:17-19

16th: That he would be a man who enters into spiritual warfare. Eph 6:11-12, I Thes 5:8

17th: That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule, and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength. IS 40:31, Eph 3:14-19

18th: That he might have a burden to see lost people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Matt 28:12-20

19th: That he would be kept from strange women and evil men, and that his friends would be men and women who walk with God. Prov 13:20

20th: That his self image might be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him. Eph 1:17-19, Rom 12:3, Psalm 139

21st: That he might be a man responsible for family spiritual growth. Prov 4:1-14

22nd: That he might not be deceived into unbelief, sin or bitterness. Matt13:8-10

23rd: That he might learn to love as God has commanded. I Cor 13:4-7, Rom 12:8-10, Eph 5:25

24th: That the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life. Gal 5:22-23, John 15:8

25th: That he might grow in humility and in being a shepherd. I Pet 5:2-6

26th: That he might grow daily in character. II Pet 1:5-8

27th: That he might keep a clear conscience. I Pet 3:16-18

28th: That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course. Prov 2:8

29th: That he might learn to manage his time well. Eph 5:15

30th: That the Lord would put a song in his heart. Psalm 33:3, 40:3, Job 35:10

31st: That he may have a holy fear of God. Psalm 34:11, 111:10, Prov 9:10

This list provided by Pillar of Truth Ministries.

 

A Sister Gone, Never Forgotten

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?”– Jodi Picoult

 

Dalynn_2006I miss my sister.  She left this world too soon.  She died today, seven years ago.  She left behind 4 children.  One of which she had during her illness.  Dalynn is a sister gone, never forgotten!

This is a sad day, each year, as it passes.  And really, even the two weeks leading up to it.  Don't get me wrong, its gotten easier each year to remember the day, with less of the pain, but it will always be remembered with sadness and a longing for her to still be here with us.

Dalynn was a beautiful lady, inside and out.  She was witty, you know, in that way of snappy comebacks and joking that only some people have.  She was crafty and creative, always making Dalynn_Sister_Friend_1986something, reusing items to create other masterpieces.  A talented cook.  She dreamed of going to culinary school and she would have done so well!  She had a way with children that I admired so much.  Patience and calmness that I wish I had and she seemed to hardly tire when they were clammoring for her attention.

Funny thing was she didn't believe herself talented or worthy or charming.  Dalynn struggled with her self image daily and confessed that she didn't feel good in her own skin, although, as she had gotten older, she'd accepted more of herself than when she was younger.  She was beautiful and she never really saw it.

When she was born, she had carrot red hair, that quickly became the lightest shade of blond, but like all of us, her hair darkened, her's into a warm reddish brown with gold highlights as she got Dalynn_Son_2008older.  She had beautiful freckles and alabaster skin.  Traits of our father's Irish heritage.  And large, blue eyes, like our mother.   Three of her four children inherited her lovely features and each time we get a glimpse of them, we're reminded of her.

Dalynn was the middle daughter and she often acted as the glue that held us together.  I miss being able to talk with her (which I did practically every day).  I miss hearing her voice, her laugh and her children (that's another dirty, messed up story, left for another time perhaps).  

Leukemia, specifically acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), swiped her from our lives.  The doctors said it was very rare to have childhood leukemia at her age.  That it usually strikes a child or teen, but not usually an adult.  But, as I think back on her history, there were odd things in her medical history.  For instance, when she got mono, Dalynn_2007instead of having swollen lymph glands, running a fever or feeling excessively sleepy, she manifested hives.  In fact, she got hives quite a few times for no explainable reason.  She never could handle heat and during the summers, she often was on the verge of heatstroke while out playing, which resulted in excessive bloody noses, flushed cheeks and weakness.  After her third pregnancy, she developed an all-over body rash.  She tried everything she could think of to get rid of it, thinking it was perhaps the soap she was washing with or the laundry soap or the dryer sheets or something she was eating.  The rash disappated on its own after a few months with no explanation, never served by her changes or the doctors that examined her.

Dalynn_2006The different issues she had make me wonder… is it possible she had a somewhat dormant form of leukemia all her life and it was only when she was pregnant with her fourth child, that her body resigned its fight?  We'll never know, I suppose, but it does make a person scratch their head and go… hmmmm…

So… this day of days, I leave you with this… Dalynn was a bright, shining star, snuffed out too soon.  She is missed greatly.  And she will always be remembered.  I share a video tribute my husband put together for her Celebration of Life after her passing.  May you see a glimpse of the sparkling person she was.

 

SuperMom To The Rescue

SuperMom

What does it take to be a SuperMom?  I ask, because I don't think I am one.  But, is it an elusive dream to want to be a SuperMom?  Is a SuperMom really just a mask for a real mom.  Because mom is Super no matter?  Hmmm…

I can't say that I've had a great role model.  My mom and I never saw eye-to-eye.  Even when I was very young.  My first and very strong memory of her is sad, as I was 18 months old and remember laying on the couch in our home, with toilet paper shoved up my nose, because it was bleeding.  (I had a lot of serious bloody noses when I was young.)  I remember her walking around the counter, coming from the kitchen and thinking, "I hate her".  That seems like such an odd memory, doesn't it?  And it makes me sad to think about.

She wasn't ever cruel physically, that I remember, but she did play alot of mind games.  I can't imagine I grasped that at such a young age though.  We don't have a good relationship to this day, but its not for lack of trying on my part.  Unfortunately, being in the religion she is, she has skewed the idea of shunning to fit her criteria.  This keeps my sister and I in "the dog house" in her opinion and therefore, she's unwilling to talk with us.

But, I choose to move beyond that example.  I choose to rise above and be a supermom to my daughter.  How?  Well… its about being there for your child.  Listening, laughing with them, comforting them.  Its about showing a great example to your child, teaching them how to take care of themselves, teaching them how to cherish others.  Its about quality time and unconditional love.  

There are some great quotes about being a SuperMom.  And I want to apply them to my life.  I hope that my daughter will feel that her mom was a SuperMom.

SuperMom Quotes

“Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same; and most mothers kiss and scold together.” – Pearl S. Buck

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” – Sophia Loren

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” – Jewish Proverb

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington

“A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” —Emily Dickinson

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” —Proverbs 31:26

“I see myself as a mom first. I’m so lucky to have that role in life. The world can like me, hate me, or fall apart around me and at least I wake up with my kids and I’m happy.” —Angelina Jolie

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” – Chinese Proverb

“My mom is my hero. She inspired me to dream when I was a kid, so anytime anyone inspires you to dream, that’s gotta be your hero.” —Tim McGraw

“There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.” —Unknown

"Lest We Forget

"She came tonight as I sat alone, The girl I used to be… And she gazed at me with her earnest eye And questioned reproachfully: Have you forgotten the many plans And hopes that I had for you?The great career, the splendid fame, All the wonderful things to do?Where is the mansion of stately height With all of its gardens rare?The silken robes that I dreamed for you And the jewels in your hair?

"And as she spoke, I was very sad For I wanted her pleased with me… This slender girl from the shadowy past, The girl that I used to be.

"So gently rising, I took her hand, And guided her up the stair, Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay Innocent, sweet, and fair. And I told her that these are my only gems, And precious they are to me; That silken robe is my motherhood Of costly simplicity. And my mansion of stately height is love, And the only career I know Is serving each day in these sheltered walls For the dear ones who come and go.

"And as I spoke to my shadowy guest, She smiled through her tears at me. And I saw that the woman that I am now Pleased the girl that I used to be. —Author Unknown

Love and Marriage, For Now ‘Til We Part

Love and Marriage

Love and Marriage… Love and Marriage…

The moment has come!  You're so excited.  You've been planning this day for a while now, perhaps even most of your life.  The wedding.  The right person.  The family and friends that will witness this blessed, sanctified, most precious day in your life.

Everything's a blur.  The ceremony is past, the family and friends have partied, laughed and danced with you and you rushed off to your ever so exciting honeymoon.  Oh could you imagine something better than spending the next few days, perhaps week or two, surrounded by nothing but carefree bliss with your significant other.  Staring into each other's eyes.  Holding each other close.  Exploring each other in a way you never had before.

Ah… wedded bliss.  So easy to "fall in love", but then, reality sets in as you walk into your home once more.  The marriage begins.  No longer the wedding, no longer the honeymoon, but the full-on marriage!  Did you prepare for this?  Did you anticipate the clothes on the floor, the toothpaste cap not on, every light in the house left glowing no matter what time of day or who's in the room?  Did you really ponder your vows?  Now is when they're going to come screaming back at you.

Remember them?

Vows, what are they?

Traditional wedding vows are still the most popular vows among those out there.  They read:

I, "so and so", take you "my love", to be my "wife or husband"…

  • to have and to hold
  • for better or for worse
  • for richer, for poorer
  • in sickness and in health
  • to love and to cherish
  • from this day forward until death do us part.

However, when we are up there on the altar, reciting these precious words of honor, do we really understand what we're doing?  What is marriage today anyway?

Should marriage vows today really read more like this?  I, "so and so", take you "my love for now", to be my "wife or husband"…

  • only if you maintain your body to my specifications
  • only if you stay in a good mood
  • only if you treat me always the way I "deserve" to be treated, which by the way changes with each and every situation
  • for richer or even better
  • only if you eat the way I think you should eat
  • only if when you're sick, it doesn't last long and you can pretty much take care of yourself
  • only until something infringes on "my rights" do us part

No longer are we willing to stick it out when it doesn't feel good, when its not convenient, it doesn't suit my needs, or worse, when its downright scary!

Divorce is no longer a stigma…

Divorce is no longer a stigma, a mark of disgrace.  Some very famous stars have eight or more divorces under their belts and are still loved and adored.  One Catholic, who says she believes "any marriage is worth saving" writes that not all divorce is bad, saying that she also calls herself a pragmatic, in other words, practical and has recommended to some of her friends that they go ahead with their divorces.

LatestDud says in her article, Is Divorce Always A Bad Thing? on Hubpages:

Divorce is a good thing when…

1. Both parties just want to move on and get on with their lives.

2. When the whole family is suffering because of the marital stress (in other words, you are resolving this problem and making the family's suffering go away to the extent that you possibly can).

3. When you both decide that it's the best way to go. At least you can agree on that, right?

One man blogged saying that "couples should be able to determine their own level of commitment", blaming society for giving such a limited set of options".

The average divorce rate in the US, according to the Huffington Post article (12/21/10), Highest Divorce Rates In The Worldis 3.4 divorces per 1000 citizens. It also ranked #5 of the top 10 countries for highest divorce rates per 1000.

Tabloids and Hollywood star reviews are littered with scores of tales of divorce. Just in 2010 there were the following divorces (to name a few):

  1. Shania Twain & Robert "Mutt" Lange
  2. Eva Longoria & Tony Parker
  3. Kate Winslet & Samm Mendes
  4. LeAnn Rimes & Dean Sheremet
  5. Christina Aguilera & Jordan Bratman
  6. Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller
  7. Sandra Bullock & Jesse James
  8. Cheryl Cole and Ashley Cole
  9. Morgan Freeman & Myrna Colley-Lee
  10. Rachel Weisz & Darren Aronofsky

With all these divorces occurring, how do our teenagers feel about marriage?  Mathematica Policy Research conducted a study on teens and marriage in Pathways to Adulthood and Marriage: Teenagers' Attitudes, Expectations, and Relationship Patterns.  They report that while teenagers are "very positive about marriage" and believe they are "well prepared for marriage by their life experiences and training" (over 70%) and look forward to marrying, they don't want to marry right away and are looking at the prospects of cohabitating first, pushing marriage back to a later date, some as much as five years or more from their senior year of high school.

What do others have to say about marriage?

"The purpose for marriage is companionship and friendship. As you look for someone to marry or to get married to, it is vital that you consider exactly what you want in the relationship." – Francis K. Githinji – An Online Dating Expert  (see here). [my emphasis]

"Many people now casually shrug their shoulders and decide in advance that if they aren’t happy in marriage they will just walk away." – Rebecca Hagelin is senior communications fellow for the Heritage Foundation and the author of “30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.”  (see here).

"Living together is just as good as being married, even when it comes to bringing up children, British people now believe." – Rosemary Bennett, Frost's Meditations (see here).

"Obama says his views on same-sex marriage are 'evolving'." – Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post Staff Writer (see here).

Is our approach to marriage maybe the problem?  Even deeper, perhaps our approach to who or what instituted marriage is the main issue.  There are many arguments on who has the right to decide about marriage and whether its a sacred or civil institution, as is shown in this question posed on the Washington Post website, "Marriage: Sacred Rite or Civil Right?".

Because I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, ultimate author of the Bible and the author and finisher of my faith, I approach marriage from a Biblical viewpoint.  But before I go any further, I will confess that this was not always my viewpoint.  Even having grown up in a religion that professed the Bible as God's Word, I had very unBiblical viewpoints regarding marriage.  Some based on my parents beliefs, some based on my understandings from the world's conclusions (inherited both from my associations, my formal education and my television viewing).  I myself have been divorced and it is not something I'm proud of or rejoice in.  I praise God that after I was saved, He forced me to look at the ways I viewed marriage and because I love Him, choose to view it His way, rather than my earlier understanding.  This change has been long and difficult.  But, I'll explain more as I go along.

Is marriage a contract or a covenant?

That's perhaps the biggest hurdle we must overcome.  The world views marriage as a contract, an agreement between two parties for the doing of something specified, that if not fulfilled can easily be dissolved.  God views marriage as a covenant, a lifelong relationship exemplifying unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity, and growth and is an eternal commitment with God and your spouse only dissolved by death.

God is smarter than we are, to coin the phrase so often said by, Brad Scott of Wild Branch Ministries.  He designed the first marriage, Adam and Eve.  "Father knows best".

The main problem is not having God first in our lives.  Nothing else works out for the long haul if we are focused on self, rather than God.  If we really want to have long-lasting, truly happy marriages, we put Him first.  As the Duggars are so fond of saying, joy in our lives is established when we put:

  • Jesus first
  • Others second and
  • Yourself last

Today, me-isms reign supreme!  There is very little honor and integrity, very little compassion or commitment.

  • my way or the highway
  • me first
  • what's best for me
  • its all about me
  • give it to me
  • I deserve it
  • my rights
  • I'm special

The marriage principles YHWH says we should live by, based on His Word, the Bible are:

Women especially are told to reverence, respect and submit to their husbands more often than their husbands are told to love their wives.  Why?  Because at the fall, YHWH told Adam and Eve, one of the curses of their sin would be that Eve (and subsequently, all women) would attempt to usurp her husband's leadership.  In other words, attempt to take over his leadership.  I can see the hackles rising now!  Feminists unite!  ha ha…

Choose Yah's Way

On this day of "love", so dedicated on the Gregorian calendar, I offer a plea to focus on uniting the bond of marriage in our hearts as YHWH's institution.  A covenant not to be broken by anything but death.  A lasting promise, as those vows we said on that beautiful wedding day, "to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.

Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?

woman_crying1If God is all-powerful, He would just wipe out all evil and suffering, wouldn’t He?  If He is loving, He wouldn’t let the innocent suffer.  If God cared about those who followed His Son, He would at least protect them, right?  If He knows ahead of time, who is going to commit evil, He could just remove them before they go that far.

These are hard questions and somehow, the answer is even more difficult.  Not because there isn’t an answer, but rather, because the answer is complex and still partially unanswerable.  But, let me try…

YHWH created the heavens and the earth in the beginning of time.  Genesis chapter one describes the many facets of His creation and at each point, He declares what He has created as good.  Then, at the end of His creation phase, in vs. 31, He steps back and declares everything that He has created (the heavens and all in them, the earth, the moon, the sun, animals and mankind) as ‘very good’.

God didn’t create the heavens and the earth or the first human couple for evil and suffering.  He created a perfect world, with perfect atmosphere, perfect animals and perfect humans.  He created perfect angels to minister to His Kingdom in heaven and on earth.  In fact, the entire theme of the Bible is how God’s plan is to bring a new heaven and new earth in place of this tainted world.  “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  (2 Peter 3:13)

So, how did everything that was originally ‘very good’, have such a devastating outcome as evil and suffering?  What bridged the gap, so to speak?

"Evil is, good or truth misplaced." – Mohandas Gandhi

In order to understand what is evil, we must define good.

According to the Messiah, God is the only measure we have to define good.  “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.”  (Luke 18:19)  David also says this in Psalm 100:5, “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

What are some of God’s qualities?

  • God is holy – Leviticus 11:44–45, 19:2; Isaiah 6:1-3; Ephesians 4:24
  • God is righteous – Romans 2:6-16; Psalm 119:40; Psalm 145:17
  • God is unchanging – Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12, 13:8
  • God is truth – Psalm 31:5; John 14:6; John 17:3; Romans 3:4; Titus 1:1-2
  • God is love – Genesis 1:31; Psalm 145:9; Mark 10:18; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8
  • He is also eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent. (This list is by far a complete list of His qualities.)

Good then, is everything God encompasses. This definition subsequently directs us to the classification of evil.  Evil is the absence or perversion of good.  Or in other words, evil is the absence or perversion of God.

This takes us back to Genesis.  In chapter three, the serpent (known later as Satan, Lucifer, the Devil) deceives Eve, by charging that God has lied.  By charging that God was withholding something valuable.  By claiming that Adam and Eve could be gods and that God was keeping them from that reality.

Both partake of the tree that God has explicitly told them not to eat from.  Sin, missing the mark, separation from God and all that He is, was introduced through one man, Adam.  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”  (Romans 5:12)  This leaves no doubt that we are born into sin.  There is none innocent.

But, how could Adam and Eve have sinned in the first place?  Because they were created with free will.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank

What is free will?  Free will is “the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies” according to wordnetweb.princeton.edu.  If we weren’t given this ability, then, God would have created puppets.  Capable of never choosing Him over another way.  Capable of never really being able to express love, because there is no choice.  I, for one, am thankful He gave us this gift.  However, this endowment carries with it awesome potential of great blessing or great devastation.

We must stop thinking of evil as an entity, but rather a symptom of man’s heart condition.  We were completely separated through sin from YHWH when man chose to sin.  Again, look at chapter three of Genesis.  This choice, made by Adam, set wheels in motion.  Not only was the serpent cursed, but Adam’s life would become full of sorrow, heavy labor and ultimately, death.  Eve would bear pain in childbirth, she would have an unbalanced marriage relationship and she would also die.

Their choice was not solely a personal choice.  Because of that choice, they handed down the curse of sin and death to every individual afterward.  Wrong choices can lead to potentially devastating grand scale suffering, by corruption of ourselves, those around us, those who follow in the future and even natural law.

The three types of choice that bring evil and suffering are:

  • Wrong personal choices
  • The wrong choices of others
  • The wrong choices of past generations

We often make ourselves suffer by choices we make, like when we make bad financial decisions, we overeat, when we pursue someone else’s wife/husband, property or money, we smoke, we drink in excess, we lie or we steal.  Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives over their decision to lie about their giving.

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”  (Acts 5:1-11)

We can suffer at the hands of others or make other suffer by choices we make.  Some examples would be getting cancer due to second-hand smoke, losing our life or be seriously maimed because someone who drank in excess got behind the wheel of a car, suffering from a robbery or being cheated on or out of something.

Joseph was sold into slavery and was taken to Egypt at the hands of his brothers.  “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.  And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.  Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.  And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.  And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.  And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;  And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.  And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.  And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?   Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.  Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” (Genesis 37:18-28)

We can suffer due to the wrong choices of past generations.  For instance, the FDA continues to approve items that they list as food products or pharmaceuticals, that they know have harmful affects.  War is always something that affects later generations.  Thousands of lives lost, others maimed causing physical hardship in families, birth defects, mental and emotional anguish.  Suffering from past generations has happened through environmental choices.  Look too, at the financial state of the world and the US.  The United States is over 14 trillion dollars in debt, only half of which built up over the first 200 years!  And in the end (or rather, the beginning), we all suffer from the ultimate Adam and Eve’s choice.

To argue that God is either unloving or not all-powerful (or even to go so far as to say He doesn’t exist), we must make the following presuppositions:

  • All-powerful means, God can do anything, even outside His own laws.
  • Eliminating evil and suffering immediately would result in good, without repercussion.
  • God is the ruler of this world.
  • God isn’t doing anything and is letting evil and suffering go unchecked.

“The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe.  When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human.  There is no restraint from the depths of evil that is in man.”  Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ

The first presupposition is a difficult one to understand, because we’ve always been taught that all-powerful means the ability for God to do whatever He wants.  However, while omnipotent (all-powerful) means having unlimited power, God chooses how to use that power.

Atheists and agnostics scrabble and complain, tearing at “all-powerful” as if it meant God, who is the God of order, not chaos, would use His power without responsibility.  YHWH does not use His power in ways that would contradict His character.  They are not willing to accept this, because that would mean they’re wrong and from those I’ve personally spoken with, their hearts are hard.  “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;”  (Romans 2:5)

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering…. The love of God did not protect His own Son…. He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process." – Elisabeth Elliot

The second assumes that God should simply eliminate evil and suffering immediately and that doing so could only result in a good outcome without ramifications.  And He could stop what’s going on right now, at this very moment, but to stop evil and suffering immediately, He has to wipe out all evil.  Even evil thoughts.  Remember what Jesus said in Mark 10:18, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”  In order to stop evil immediately, He would have to eliminate everyone not saved through His Son, right this minute or eliminate free will, for no one walks about without at least one evil thought.

If YHWH eliminated free will, He has only puppets, not willing on their own to love and serve their master, but rather incapable of anything else.  There would be no joy in His people.  There would be no delight, no honor, no devotion from them to Him.  He created us to commune with Him.  He sought out Adam and Eve in the garden and walked with them.  “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)  He created us to love us.  He created us because of who He is, not because of who we are or what we do.  He also created mankind in His image, so that we could love Him and love others.

The spirit of love is to give.  (1 Corinthians 13:1-10)

God is love.  (1 John 4:8, 16)

God bestows upon us love, the most excellent of gifts.  (John 3:16)

"Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves." – Joni Eareckson Tada (The God I Love)

When faced with the third assumption, we are not paying attention to the words of the Bible.  We are not listening to Yeshua himself who said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”  (John 18:36).

Revelation 12:9 says, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  Yeshua confirms this in Luke 10:18.

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”  (2 Corinthians 4:4a)

Ephesians 2:2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

1 John 5:19b says, “and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

Satan, ‘that old serpent’, offered Yeshua the nations of the world, if only He would bow down to him.  Never once does Yeshua argue that Satan had no right to offer what was not his.

In other words, this world of wickedness, evil and suffering is not God’s but Satan’s.  Man and the earth are completely separated from God.  There are things that must be accomplished before God will once and for all do away with him and this world Satan has created.  And he will be destroyed!  “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  (Revelation 20:10)

Lastly, making the statement that God is allowing evil and suffering to wildly wreak havoc completely unchecked, is without foundation.  The Holy Spirit is here to restrain evil.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”  (John 16:7-11)

2 Thessalonians 2:7, speaking of the Holy Spirit, says, “For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.”  (Amplified Bible)

Many times, throughout history, God has limited evil and suffering in some form or other.  The flood.  (Genesis chapters 6-8)  The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  (Genesis 19:1-29)  Israel’s exodus from Egypt.  (Exodus chapters 1-14)  Salvation of the nation through Esther.  (Esther chapters 1-10)    Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  (Daniel 3:13-29)

He also limited both by providing us with His written instruction on how to live a life for Him.  And made whole and complete by the Holy Spirit, written on our hearts, if we have accepted His Son as Lord of our lives.  (Deuteronomy 30:15-18; Ephesians 6:10, 11; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22; 2 Corinthians 3:3)

These are only a few listed in scripture, however, YHWH’s plan from the beginning was to send His Son, Yeshua, to die on the cross, thereby “freeing us from the law of sin and death.”  (Romans 8:2)

What it boils down to, is that man thinks he can do better than God.  He thinks he is god and therefore, doesn’t have to answer to YHWH.  Nor does he believe he must follow the rules that God has provided to guide our lives.  Everything is about self, rather than about Him.  But, breaking God’s laws leads to sin and lawlessness, misery and ultimately, death.  (Genesis 2:17, 3:11-24; Deuteronomy 28:15; Daniel 9:11)

We must remember that we were created by Him and it is not our place to direct our own steps.  This only leads to the destructive course we’re now facing!  “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  (Ezekiel 18:4)

Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  (Revelation 4:11)

God deserves to be worshipped and adored.  He is worthy of our honor, praise and love.  We must strive to be more and more like His Son, who did only His Father’s will.

“We must see good in that, in which other men can see none.  We must pass by those injuries that other men would revenge.  We must show we have grace, and that we are made to bear what other men are not acquainted with.  Many of our graces are kept alive, by those very things that are the death of other men’s souls…”  John Bunyan

In the final analysis, even having laid out all that we have discussed here, we must be willing to admit that we will not have a full and complete answer until we meet with the Lord face to face.  First Corinthians 13:12, “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

There are some who will never accept this final portion.  Why?  Because this requires faith.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1).  See also Romans 8:4 and 2 Corinthians 4:18.

God is bigger than we are.  He is smarter than we are, as Brad Scott of Wild Branch Ministries likes to say often.  If we are going to understand even a smidgen of His viewpoint, we must have faith that God will take care of everything in His timing.

Revelation 21:4 gives us hope, saying, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”