Sunday, February 24, 2008

Forgiving God

If you read my last blog, I spoke on forgiveness and how important it is to our ability to live in the moment, live the abundant life. When we’re living in unforgiveness we’re in bondage to the person or circumstance that has already harmed us. We break free by acknowledging God’s sovereignty in all situations and acknowledging his character, that he’s all knowing, completely just, entirely trust worthy, and loves us so dearly. What has happened to us, and the fact that we may not understand it, does not change any of these things. God was there all along.

Today I want to talk about forgiving God. When we’re hurt, when we don’t understand why he’s allowed certain things or withheld certain things, we get mad at Him. I know you’ve been there. I’ve been there often! Without forgiveness, our relationship with him is damaged.

Why Forgive God?

We’re unable to live in the moment, when we’re not trusting God. We can’t trust him, when we feel we’ve been wronged by him. Though God, in his perfection, can do nothing wrong, some times decisions he makes, things he allows, can hurt us in the short term.

Our failure to acknowledge that we might need to forgive God puts a wedge between him and us. We’re hurt, we’re mad that something played out a certain way. We lost a job, a loved one, a dream was shattered, someone got sick, we don’t like our life status, everything is a struggle. Why won’t God just fix it?! Some times he just can’t. Not because he doesn’t have the power, or he doesn’t have the love, but because he knows the larger plan. This thing HAD to happen to play out his perfect will. Some times it not just about us. Or the development of our character through a circumstance is more important than a situation itself.

Do you know what? God wants you to come to him with all your heartaches, even if you think he caused them. In all good relationships, we must go to the one that’s hurt us and tell them. If we don’t get honest with God when he’s hurt us, that chasm between him and us will only grow. That bitterness takes root and we find ourselves all the further off track without him.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

Share the Hurt and Frustration

When I was in London, I met an amazing individual, who loves the Lord, but frankly, he’s broken her heart. Things have happened that have caused her to doubt. I don’t believe she doubts who he says he is or of what he’s capable. She doubts his love for her and whether he is a loving God, if he can allow so many hard things, especially to those who are trying to live according to his ways. Hurt and frustrated, she’s walked away from him. She doesn’t know what else to do.

Our meeting was certainly a divine appointment. If you know me, you know that the last few years God has allowed me to go through several trials that left me questioning his love, or at least his methods. I shared with her how often I’ve cried out to him for understanding.

I told her what I’ve learned most, is just keep talking. Like a human relationship, you need to communicate. You need to share your thoughts, feelings, and work through things together. I remember calling God to task on some of his promises in scripture. Dangerous! You can see I was pretty desperate. I begged him to meet me where I was, comfort me, give me strength, help it make sense, help me see anything differently, anything! I was more than once at my wits end.

I told her there were times that I too wanted to give up on Him, just turn away. But time and again, Peter’s words in John 6:67-68 resounded with me. Jesus asks Peter if he too will abandon him. Peter responds: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Some times I feel like he makes it hard to stay. Yet isn’t that my own lack of understanding, confusion, selfishness? I find when I have strayed, I’ve fallen into all sorts of temptations to ease my pain. Most regularly, these only caused more heartache and never filled me.

How Do You Forgive God?

God told me once that I doubted him, because I’d forgotten who he was. I did a study on all his attributes in hopes of remembering… his love, his mercy, his omnipotence, all of it.

Forgiving God is like forgiving anyone else. It begins by submitting to God’s authority. You remember he’s God, you’re not, and he just knows more than you. God would remind me of all the times he’s been faithful in the past and that he wasn’t about to stop being faithful now. The Israelites set up tangible reminders, their Ebenezer stones, to remember God’s faithfulness. I have a lot of Ebenezer stones, so I insist on trusting him.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 3:8

A couple weeks ago, in chatting with a friend, in occurred to me that many of my longings have gone unmet, many questions left unanswered, for upwards of seven years. And yet, as I look back, I see all the good that has come out of this journey. God is pruning me, preparing me. I know that God has big plans for me. He will answer many of my questions and fill my heart, but first, he is disciplining me, so I am not swayed by the world, but ready to be all he has planned.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7-11

It’s Not Just Me Who Cries

Last weekend I visited my nieces and two new nephews. How I cherish them! It occurred to me how hard it must be for their parents to discipline them, loving them as they do. But I know that it’s in loving them, that they MUST discipline them. Some times it kills the parent to discipline, as they watch their child cry and cry, hurt and confused. But it’s for their growth and protection.

God whispered to me, how hard its been for him, how many tears he’s shed, as he’s had to watch me all those nights I’ve cried… knowing that NOT rescuing me was for my own good. He knew that REALLY loving me meant that he could only comfort me at times and at others, just watch me struggle. As my Father, he wanted me to be ok, to understand, but seeing the big picture, he had to wait and just let me go through it. He knew I could and that I had to, to move forward.

CS Lewis wrote: “Isn't God supposed to be good? Isn't he supposed to love us? And does God want us to suffer? What if the answer to that question is yes? See, I'm not sure that God wants us to be particularly happy. I think he wants us to love and to be loved. He wants us to grow up. I suggest to you that it is because God loves us that he gives us the gift of suffering. Or to put it another way, pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world. You see, we are like blocks of stone out of which The Sculptor carves the forms of man. The blows of His chisel which hurt us so much are what makes us perfect.”

God’s adventure isn’t always easy. I know several of you, expressed to me that much of your current lack of faith, apathy, or anger/frustration with God, is because you feel he’s never really been there for you. He’s let you down, so you’ve walked away. I BEG you give him another chance. You can’t do this life alone, without him. Your greatest effort and struggle, is nothing compared to what he can bring you, if you trust him. We don’t understand his ways, but he does have a purpose for your pain. He hates to see us hurt, so he never wastes a hurt.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:17b-21

Talk to him about it. Tell him you’re pissed off! Goodness knows he’s heard strong words from me, some you’d hardly dare to use in front of God! Ask him to help you understand. Let him comfort you. Try to find a way to forgive him. Your ability to live the abundant life depends on it!

Just in closing… there’s a song that always seems to pop on the radio, when I’m most angry at God. It’s by MercyMe. It goes like this:

“I can count a million times, people asking me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through. The question just amazes me can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You. Maybe since my life was changed, long before these rainy days, It's never really ever crossed my mind. To turn my back on you, oh Lord, my only shelter from the storm, but instead I draw closer through these times. So I pray:

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above because you are much greater than my pain. You who made a way for me, suffering your destiny, so tell me, what’s a little rain? So I pray: (return to refrain)”

Father God, we know that throughout scripture, you warn us that this world will be full of trouble, full of pain. It sure is, and there’s so much we don’t understand. In these times, we cry out, and unfortunately, some times we run away from you, hurt and angry. Help us to see your love, no matter the circumstance. Help us to trust you, bear with you. Give us something to remind us of your goodness, when it hard to believe. Help us to understand your character. Give us the humbleness and strength to yield to your will. Help us forgive you. Restore today, any broken relationships between you and any who may read this. Help them to talk to you. Listen to them and don’t be silent. As for me, help me to continue to stand firm. Protect me from the world's many temptations when I struggle to trust you. I love you, Lord. AMEN.

15 comments:

Hello said...

God does not fix your problem because he only cares more about his own larger plan plays out, even though it would bring you pain. He also makes things plays out certain way because he believes that he is always right.

Do NOT forgive him. Do NOY give in. Most of all, do NOT become a bad person because you can't forgive him. You are a better person than him.

esther said...

I disagree. God does not fix a problem not because he doesn't want to, but because he miraculously fits into His perfect plan and uses it to bring Glory to Himself.

GOD's plans are always right and are bigger than our own. They are far more glorious and wonderful than what we can ever imagine, and we need to trust Him with our lives, even the pain which he has allowed, for Him to work through that pain to shine His light into our darkened lives.

Mike said...

I know a teenage girl who was molested by her father since she was 4. She told me that she prayed for years for deliverance. Deliverance never came. Now, she wants nothing to do with God. She says God is worse than her father because her father is sick. God could have done something but "in His perfect will" he decided this girl to suffer for 12 years. I'm not sure what it will take to repair this girl's life. She seems damaged beyond repair. She thinks God is more evil than the most evil in the world because. This reminds me of a quote, "If God is good, he doesn't exist. If God exists, he is evil."

There is a question of how much suffering is justifiable for a favorable outcome. Some are willing to go through plastic surgery in order to look better. Some will suffer through a marathon for whatever they get out of it. But for some/many the amount of pain, the level of pain, and/or duration of pain are not worth whatever God is trying to prepare them for.

Was it really God's plan that this 4 year old girl is raped by her father for 12 years?

Ed said...

Mike,

First, you must keep in mind that this world is corrupt. Since the fall, this world is accursed and all men and women are desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Bad things have, and will always happen until this world is destroyed. This is the result of man's sinfulness, not God's work. Bad things happen to bad people, and good.


People do not ever seek God (Ro 3:10) and have fallen into God's just judgement. There are rapists, murderers, fornicators, liars, adulterers, and all deserve justice for their sin. All, means you, me, that rapist, and even that girl.

But, as I am sure you know, Christ is the sacrifice for those who repent and turn to God. Only when a person comes to Christ, when someone can love God, do ALL things in the world work for his/her good (Ro 8:28).

If someone does not know the Lord personally, his life will never have fulfillment. True fulfillment is found in God alone.

God WILL punish the unjust, but He shows favor to all at this time. But soon, the dam will be broken and all deserved wrath will be opened unless saved.

Email me at ed.golyshevskiy@gmail.com if other questions come up.

By the way: I do not believe this blog post is entirely biblical. I can state my reasoning for it in a little bit.

Kent Kloter said...

forgiveness is needed when someone sins against you. God never sins. to suggest that God needs to be forgiven is missing the point, God doesn't sin.

The problem of pain, human suffering, etc. assumes several things about human nature and fairness. the evil perpetrated on any person, especially children is a reprehensible evil. Justice will be served on that person by God his is just and righteous. no one will get way with any evil.
that being said, God also warns every human what true fairness is, that is eternal suffering in judgment for one's sin nature and sinful reject of the Gospel.
what is fair about a sinless Son of God, suffering and dying to save the very people who killed him? what is fair about a Father who would experience the pain of watching His Son suffer the most horrendous abuse known to man?

The Gospel demonstrates that God is both merciful & loving and at the same time, He is righteous & just.

no one has any reason to offer God forgiveness. Everyone has every reason to bow, repent for sin, and exalt Him and Creator, LORD and God of all!

this God is the God of all comfort, to whom all who have suffered can turn for help, healing, hope and a promise to be with him forever, AFTER the suffering is over. Come and taste as see that this LORD is good!

Ashton Fourie said...

This is a bit delayed, and I don't know whether Kent will ever read this.
But I think often forgiveness is not because someone has sinned against us, but because in a way we experience being wronged. I tried to put this across in my blog today, http://ashtonfourie.com/blog1/2012/04/23/forgiving-god/

Jay Jay Speaks said...

How do you bring yourself to forgive God, when he hasn't remedied the hurt, pain, abandonment or situation you trusted him with.

It would be like forgiving a parent who has never admitted they hurt you, did wrong by you or didn't care for you, except it's easier to find a surrogate parent or someone else who can serve in that role. Where do you find another God that can help you heal to the point you can forgive?

Forgiving the almighty, all knowing, all seeing, all powerful is not true forgiveness if you are only doing it because you are afraid of what he'll do if you don't!

If he IS love why would he require such internal and external pain and darkness of the soul only to expect you to continue to praise and exhalt him? If he knows our hearts then he knows that the forgiveness can't be true unless he reveals his face, his plan and his love for us FIRST.

Otherwise why would I forgive him if I still expect him to diappoint me when I need him the most?

Jay Jay Speaks said...

How do you bring yourself to forgive God, when he hasn't remedied the hurt, pain, abandonment or situation you trusted him with.

It would be like forgiving a parent who has never admitted they hurt you, did wrong by you or didn't care for you, except it's easier to find a surrogate parent or someone else who can serve in that role. Where do you find another God that can help you heal to the point you can forgive?

Forgiving the almighty, all knowing, all seeing, all powerful is not true forgiveness if you are only doing it because you are afraid of what he'll do if you don't!

If he IS love why would he require such internal and external pain and darkness of the soul only to expect you to continue to praise and exhalt him? If he knows our hearts then he knows that the forgiveness can't be true unless he reveals his face, his plan and his love for us FIRST.

Otherwise why would I forgive him if I still expect him to diappoint me when I need him the most?

Kierkegaard Knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

Forgiveness is something you extend to someone who has done something wrong. It therefore does not make sense to talk about us forgiving God.

I understand that sometimes we may feel angry or resentful towards him, and it's very important not to stay in that state. But saying that we have to forgive God is a mis-use of the word "forgive". A better word would be "repent". It is we who need his forgiveness, not he who needs ours.

Tim said...

"Forgiving God is like forgiving anyone else. It begins by submitting to God’s authority."

Ummm, ... if you're going to write for public consumption, you should perhaps think a bit more about what you say before publishing it.

It sounds like you're saying that when we forgive other people, we have to begin by submitting to their authority. That's just nonsense. It mixes together two quite separate matters.

I suspect this all stems from the fact that you're trying to use the word "forgive" in a context in which it does not fit. We do not "forgive" God - he's done nothing wrong against us which we could forgive him for. Sure, we absolutely do need to let go of any anger or resentment we might feel towards him. But "forgive" is simply not the right English word to use here. If you can choose words that do mean what you mean, your output will be more useful to your readers.

Frank Tuatee said...

I just wanna tell you i love you and i really did learn a whole lot from this blog,thank you and may God continue to bless you and your family.

Jonathan Fisher said...

This is awesome. I hope The Lord heals me and blesses me.

Dave said...

All who say that we can't forgive God don't understand what forgiveness is.

Sin is not needed in any forgiveness scenario.

Forgiveness is needed when someone - anyone - is hurt (rightly or wrongly). God hurts people. Period. Anyone who says differently is ignoring Scripture and reality.

Furthermore, forgiveness never requires the other party to even KNOW that the offended/hurt party has forgiven them. Forgiveness is ONLY for the person that is hurt.

Finally, forgiving God is a very real and just thing. It has nothing to do with any kind of right/wrong or sin. It has to do with the person who was hurt by the actions or inaction of God and THEIR ability to say "God doesn't owe me anything for this pain that I've experienced." And why? Because he's God. You let go of the pain and declare that God does not have to make it "right."

This, to me, seems not only theologically correct but is an act of worship in putting God into his rightful place as the one who gets to decide what happens in life (think of his response to Job)...