Why God?

Asking “Why God?” doesn’t make me a bad Christian. It made me a kid, and He’s my Dad.

Our God, the Creator of all, Sovereign, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Almighty God – the I AM is our Father; Abba.

Readings: Romans 8:18-28 ~ John 11:17-37
My notes from today’s sermon:

Prayers – the empty chair story Pastor recounted is about talking to Jesus who is present with us because He promised He would.

O Lord, God of my salvation,
    I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
    incline your ear to my cry!

For my soul is full of troubles,
    and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
    like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
    for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
    in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
    and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
    you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
    my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O Lord;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
    Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
    or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
    or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O Lord, cry to you;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
    Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
    I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
    they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
    my companions have become darkness.

Psalm 88

This song doesn’t turn to praise like the other Psalms. We’re just left with darkness. Sometimes that’s the Christian life.

There are times when suffering and evil isn’t so much a problem that can be solved, but a mystery that needs to be endured.

Pastor Ben Spaulding

Jesus knows and understands this darkness.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:46 (ESV)

Jesus did not receive an answer.

We were buried into death with Christ and resurrected to life with him too!

On the day of the resurrection, pain and suffering become untrue – it still happened, but it no longer has power over us.

You Sustain Me

I found this little doodle in my old journaling Bible. I got a new one a few years ago, and I’ve been slowly transferring my notes over. Some of my notes, I’m putting here on my online Bible journal (so-to-speak) instead. Doing this note transfer is a rather interesting Bible study. I’ve done this once before several years ago. I do so enjoy the process of combing through God’s Word.

Notes on Waiting

  • My hope is in you all day long – Psalm 25:5
    “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
  • My soul waits. In the Word, I hope. – Psalm 130:5
    “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;”
  • Hope in the Lord… renewed strength & not grow weary. – Isaiah 40:30-31
    “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
  • Good to wait quietly and hope – Lamentations 3:25-26
    “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
  • Wait for your God always – Hosea 12:6
    “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
  • Wait until the Lord comes – 1 Corinthians 4:4-5
    “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
    like Anna – Luke 2:36-38
    “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

Pursuit of Wisdom

The pursuit of wisdom for wisdom’s sake is in itself futility.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 (ESV)

“Vanity” is the same word as futility and the name, Abel, which is the first recorded death in the Bible.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 3:20 (ESV)

The highest value is God. Do not eliminate the highest value, because God is what gives us meaning.

It’s important to learn these cycles to have wisdom, but without God there isn’t meaning to these cycles. They’re just cycles.

Knowledge does breed more difficulty and pain in the world, but this isn’t without an upside if you have God as your highest value. In other words, there’s pain/angst/worry/fear that comes with knowing more about this broken world, which can then draw you closer to your walk with God and grow your faith.

What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

Ecclesiastes 1:15 (ESV)

The mysterious can’t be figured out. Questions always lead to more questions!

For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 (ESV)

It’s not that ignorance is bliss, but that the pursuit of wisdom itself is unending and ultimately pointless. Aristotle states it fairly well, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8 (ESV)

We are to still pursue knowledge and wisdom, but to always keep God at the center of it all.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)

God grants us knowledge and wisdom as we have need of it, and never all of it. God knows things about me that I don’t know about myself. God even gives us knowledge of Him, but there’s lots of room for mystery. True knowledge of God is too much for us to grasp!

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Romans 1:19-23 (ESV)

When we try to understand everything about God, we inevitably make him smaller and negate faith. (Pastor’s book recommendation on the perspective of trying to know God: The Domestication of Transcendence by William Placher.)

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV)

If we could understand God, then He’s not big enough. We’re not supposed to understand the mysteries of God.

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:19-21 (ESV)

It’s interesting to note that “futility” here is the same word that’s used for “vanity” in Ecclesiastes 1:2.