Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why, I Think, God Says What He Says

Hey Friend,

It's a good thing I wrote this post before my surgery.  Being on heavy duty pain medicine, has left me fuzzy-brained and not able to focus (you may be saying so what else is new?).  Thank you for your caring and compassionate prayers.  I have truly felt I wait, pray, and thank God for what He is going to do in my life.

I've been thinking about why God says what He says.  The Bible says, and I've heard many a pastor preach, on the subject of God hating divorce. It's usually a guilt trip. Naturally this hits close to home because I have gone through the tragedy that is divorce and am now remarried.  Yes, I am happily remarried, but the road here has been far from a fairy tale.  In fact just the opposite.  Divorce is hell and I think God's heart for us is to not have to travel there.

Even if your divorce meets the Biblical criteria for divorce, it is still the tearing apart of a union that God meant to last until death do us part.  I don't think God says He hates divorce for His sake, I think He hates it for our sake.

I look at all the lives that were impacted by my/our divorce.  This didn't just traumatize the two adults rippled out to our children, family, friends, future relationships, our relationship with God, etc. I felt guilt and failure that took a long time to shed.  It still affects things even today.

At the moment, I have a very strained relationship with my daughter who I thought, for sure, would be the first one to rise up and call me blessed.  I know that her hurt comes, in part, from insecurities stemming from the divorce. Divorce tempts children to take up sides, harbor resentments, place blame, internalize guilt.  I believe that God hates the feelings that the children of divorce (no matter their age) have to deal with.  He hurts, not for Himself, but for them.

God has counted and caught the many tears I've cried into my pillow from the divorce and now the strained relationship with my daughter.  He doesn't want this for me...for us...but this can be the aftermath of divorce.  I know that God is still working.  He is still orchestrating and He will continue to work these broken pieces into something for good, but I believe He hates it for us that we have to shed tears, and have heartache, and experience strained relationships.  It's not so much that God hates divorce, but that He hates it for US.

In the Ten Commandments, God clearly says Honor Thy Mother and Father.  I'm sure, as a teenager, I thought - Yeah right God, do you know how lame they are??  You're cramping my style if you want me to honor them and all the demands they put on me.  Sound familiar? Of course, those were the days when there was a healthy dose of fear mixed in there, so I tried to "fly right" lest the boom be lowered on my head.

Even as I grew older, I always thought of the Ten Commandments as something that God wrote to infringe upon our fun, cramp our free speech, boss me around.  I thought it was all about Him and His rules.  How far from the truth I was.

One day, when my parents were visiting with us, I worked up the nerve to tell my dad (in a not so nice way) all the things he had done wrong - how he had failed to let me know I was loved - how he was overly critical - and on and on. In essence, I let him have it and I felt justified in my mind.

My Father passed away five years ago and you know to this very minute, I wish I could take back all the hurtful things I said to my dad in anger.  Sure, my dad had his faults, but God called me to honor him.  And, I believe that honor sometimes means just keeping my big mouth shut!!!

By breaking that command, I didn't necessarily hurt God, I have hurt myself.  I have to live with the remorse of saying words I wish I could take back.  

God told me to honor my father not for Him, not for my earthly father, but for me.  I know he mourns with me when I feel remorse.  He catches my tears when I pray and ask Him to give my earthly father a hug and tell him that I love him.  

One last example and I'll let this rest...God says to keep the marriage bed pure. Again, he doesn't say this to squelch our fun.  My husband and I kept this command as we were dating (and no it's not easy), but the blessings that have come from following God's commands are tremendous.  There is no guilt; there is no comparing; there is no remorse had the relationship not worked out.

I have seen, however, the trauma that having sex outside marriage has caused. I know of young women who have wound up pregnant and then further bring years of agony upon themselves by opting for abortions.

I know young men who wait with fear and trepidation to get the results of STD testing only to find out it's positive and now they have the awful responsibility of sharing that with other partners.  

I've seen what HIV can do to a marriage, a family, and life itself.  It can take it away in an instant.  The wages of sin are death (literally).  But, before you go thinking I'm some puritanical hell fire and brimstone writer.  I want to emphasize that:

God's commands are not about His anger toward us.  They are, I believe, ALL about His great love for us and NOT wanting to see us have to go through all the heartache, turmoil, worry, anxiety, remorse....that our sins lead us straight into.

God loves us and He created us and gave us rules for living so that we COULD HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY.  That is His greatest desire for us.  

He doesn't want to squelch our fun, He wants to enhance it.  He doesn't want us saying things that might hurt others in the moment, but will haunt us for a lifetime.  

I think God says what He says and hates what he hates because HE LOVES US SO MUCH.  Beyond words.  He loves us higher, deeper, wider, farther than we could ever imagine. 

To the Ten Commandments, He attaches a promise:  "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."  (Deuteronomy 5:16)

God gives us commands so that it may go well with us...Amen!

“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)

It's kind of ironic, but one of the most self-serving things we can do is follow God's commands.  Think about it?!

Furthermore, if we fail to follow His commands, but later repent of our sins, He is faithful to forgive us.  Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west.

What an AWESOME and LOVING God we have who cares so much about us that He wants it to go well with us.  I think God says what He says not for Him, but for us.  He knows how some of our poor decisions will play out and He would love to spare us that heartache.  

Still, if we hand Him the shattered pieces of our lives, He may not put them back together exactly as they were before, but He can make something even more beautiful from them.  God is still in the business of bringing beauty from ashes.

Why do YOU think God says what he says?  How have you witnessed blessings by listening to God?  How have you experienced heartache by disobeying? What do you sense God saying to you right now?  What would He have you know?

Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise you for your goodness and how your very heart for me is love. You ARE love and you cannot deny yourself.  Help me to see that the path you have laid out for me is for my own good.  You want me to have life and have it abundantly so you give me direction on how to make this happen.  Enable me to "color within the lines" so that it might go well with me.  You say these things to me, I believe, to spare me heartache.  Great is your faithfulness.  Forgive me of my past sins and invite me into life everlasting with you.  I love your commands, Lord, give me the strength to obey.  I can't do this in my own power!  In Jesus name I pray,  Amen.

Be blessed.....

ps.  Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes for my surgery.  I am slowly will be a long haul but trying to be patient.