FAITH TODAY - God is with you through it all
By Evans Hundermark
Mountainview Collunity Church
The hot, noisy Skytrain crush, was stifling and uncomfortable. We couldn’t find seats, and my little daughter, waist high to a grasshopper, couldn’t reach the handrail, so she clung to her dad. She was anxious, squashed, nervous because of the noise and crowd, but got comfort from knowing her dad was with her—even though I didn’t remove her from the discomfort, or save her from the crowd that caused her anxiety.
A recent study, by Skye Jethani (Pastor & Teacher), revealed that a person’s view of God is shaped by the emphasis their church places on God. He suggests four emphases church may place on God that form a person’s perception of God. What is your perception of God? Do you relate to one of these views:
Life under God: This emphasis suggests that life is about following the commands and rules of God. We exist to just obey God and if not, we suffer His punishment and retribution. “Life under God” sees God as divine judge, punishing those who break His law, or disobey Him.
Life for God: This suggests that we exist only to serve God. In order to win favour from God, we must be constantly busy serving Him. We sign up for missions trips, we help the poor and unfortunate, we enlist to do stuff at church, but life is still painful and it seems we cannot do enough to please God or earn His blessing.
Life from God: Here we are taught that God exists to serve us. If we obey Him, have enough faith, and do all the right things He will bless us, make us wealthy and healthy, and life will be good. But we wake up the next day and we still have financial struggles, life still hurts and your husband is still a jerk.
What are we missing? Isn’t God supposed to make it all alright, and fix everything that goes wrong? Not according to Job, who was a righteous man, did all the right things and still experienced horrible loss and pain. So, how should we view God then, and how should we relate to Him?
I would suggest in the same way my little girl relates to her dad when in an overcrowded, hot, noisy Skytrain . . . by clinging to Him, knowing that although we find ourselves in scary and uncomfortable situations, God may not rescue us from them but He will go through them with us.
Life with God: This is the key to enduring the pains and anxieties of life-relationship. It is at the core of the message Jesus tried to bring us, and is at the heart of the Christian faith. It proclaims that God desires relationship with us, and that although He will still allow us to go through hard and painful times, He will go through them with us and not let us go. This view of God, the God who is with us, encompasses all of the other views, yet emphasizes none of them. It is true therefore, that we should lead a life of obedience to God, but only because we love Him and desire to obey Him. We should live to serve God, but our acts of service should be motivated by sharing His love with the rest of the world, and we should expect blessing from God, not because we have “earned” it, but because God, like a loving Father, desires good things for His children.
Tomorrow morning when you awake, life is still going to offer up struggle, pain, financial hardship . . . but also joy, love, happiness and more. The important thing to note is that whatever you wake up to, you don’t have to face it alone. God promises to be with you through it all, a faithful companion that you can cling to, and with whom you can find strength, hope and peace. So, start a new day tomorrow, surrender it all to Him, and ask Him to walk through it all with you. This is His promise, this is your hope!
• Pastor Evans Hundermark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.