Brothers and Sisters,
When God exposes deep, dark ugly sin in the church, our brokenness tempts us to contribute failure on God’s part to protect the vulnerable. Without realizing it, we begin to ask deep questions of God’s character, strength, and abilities.
Why does God allow evil? Why does God allow children to be victimized? If God made this world to be good, why is it so broken?
If we do not stay vigilant, slowly the pillars of our faith will shake, and our conclusions to these questions may slowly draw us away from believing God to be good, trustworthy, and able to save. This is why Paul asks “God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” Col. 1:9.
God’s will is for us to be able to chose good or evil. Although he made Adam and Eve innocent, he created them with the will to chose. And, like us they chose to rule themselves instead of submitting to God’s rule over them. God’s plan is to redeem all of humanity and creation through Jesus Christ. It’s that simple.
God could chose to reprogram us to follow his will without question; therefore ridding the world of evil and the need for Jesus. This is tempting in light of horrific sin, but are we willing to live with the consequences. Without choice we loose the ability to desire God, to want to love him. We would become robots. Choice gives us a mutual relationship, where intimacy grows and we have the capacity to truly love.
Now, we may respond by saying that if God is so powerful, then why doesn’t he intervene. This sounds great because He intervenes and babies are never stillborn, drunk driving accidents never happen, schools are never places where children die, and men are always trustworthy.
Great! Problem solved, until his intervention keeps us from doing something we wanted to do. All sin seems small to the one doing it. How far should God go? Should he stop only actual marital infidelity? Should he stop it before a flirting comment is spoken? Or should he intervene for every lustful thought? Where do we want him to draw the line?
We don’t like that consequence, so maybe God should just remove all evil people. What definition of evil people will we use? My definition, your definition, a child’s definition, an “evil person’s” definition… We have to use God’s definition.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
God would have to remove every person. None of us would be left to enjoy him and reflect his glory. His holiness prevents him from any relationship with sinners, and we’ve all sinned.
We are left with accepting God’s will for us and creation. For a time, we accept that we live in this broken world with choices and consequences. We don’t like it, but this is why we learn to pray like Paul prayed for the Colossians.
We must always be growing in our knowledge of God. I have found that many struggles stem from a lack of knowledge about God rather than a lack of faith. We don’t have faith for faith’s sake. Our faith is rooted in what God has revealed about himself.
To know God, a good place to start are the names for God. One name is Elohim meaning God is the source. All of the power of creation is implied in this name. Everything he created is infinitely less. Think about the power, might, strength, beauty, and glory, we have seen in the world, and know that God is infinitely more than everything we’ve ever seen.
Another name is Adonai “Lord” meaning Master or Owner. The title implies dominion on God’s part and submission on our part. Also, Jehovah “LORD” or Self-Existent is frequently used. He existed before creation. He is utterly faithful to His own nature. He cannot cease to exist. He never changes.
Many times Jehovah is used as a compound name like Jehovah-Jireh, The LORD WILL PROVIDE. Our knowledge of God affects our prayers. Our knowledge of God reminds us that he cares about our needs, and provides for his own.
Here are more.
In what ways has God shown himself to you? How does knowing the names of God change how you pray?
My favorite name for God is found in the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. When she needed him most, he spoke to her, and she responded by calling him “The God Who Sees Me.”
Good article. I found your insight (paragraphs 7-9) particularly interesting. Something I never thought of. Thanks you for a very enjoyable and enlightening read. God Bless. “In My Prayers Today”
Br. Gordon James, OSBS
*Take my life and let me be a living prayer my God to Thee.*