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How can we make sense of times when God seems unreliable from a human perspective?

Tracie M. Hunter, Western Hills BIC, Cincinnati, Ohio

As Christians, one of our greatest challenges is to trust God when it seems He is not meeting our needs. In these moments, we need to remember that we don’t measure God’s character or abilities by our perceptions as humans, but on spiritual evidence. By recalling the difficult times that we’ve overcome with prayer and faith in the past, we can stand in awe of a God who transcends our natural comprehension. If we are honest, we must admit that we will never fully understand the brokenness of this world—the poverty, death, or mass destruction. But we can teach each other to pray. We can share our testimonies, testaments of divine intervention. These stories of the Lord’s faithfulness to us and to our spiritual ancestors in the past serve as our proof that God is real and that God is good.

Darrell Smucker, Green Grove BIC, Spring Mills, Pa.

It’s an issue of fundamental belief in God’s word. Is God truthful? Is God trustworthy? Understanding is not the issue; believing is. Job 13:15 says, “‘Even if He slays me, I will hope in Him.’”

Dan Longmore, Marsh Creek BIC of Howard (Pa.)

I would like to suggest three things. First, we must stop pretending that we can always make sense of things. The truth is, we will never make total sense of all that the Lord does and allows in our lives. As the prophet Isaiah says in 55:8, God’s methods and manners need not measure up to our standard of sense. Second, we should share our struggles with each other. Third, we must learn to walk by faith, not by sight—for hope, truth, and love will endure through times when life does not make sense and even when the Lord seems to have let us down.

Larry Olson, Light of Christ Fellowship, Des Moines, Iowa

When Jesus walked with us here on earth, He could have sent the world spinning around Andromeda. He could have suspended all pain, sickness, and death. This would, of course, have forced many to believe in Him. But that’s not the kind of relationship God desires with His fallen image-bearers. He was tired. He wept. He got exasperated. God did not spare Himself from the heartache and suffering of humanity. Likewise, we don’t get a free pass when we accept Christ’s salvation, but we are promised peace and joy. There is also the hope of another coming reality, one that will be both perfect and perfectly reliable.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2010 issue of In Part magazine.

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Comments

Thomas B. Grosh IV Posted on January 12, 2011

Yes, there have been times since submitting to Christ alone as the Way, the Truth, and Life, when "God has seemed unreliable to me." Theresa and I watched Elise Faith, born at 23 weeks, pass away after 8 days. After cancer surgery/radiation treatment, I've not "returned to normal." Our third child has a brain bleed which has caused a number of complications. Each day is one more day offered to God, 1. confessing that I am unreliable when left to my own strength, direction, sense of meaning, relationships, and life. 2. living in the Story of God provided by the Word of God and key texts such as "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule" (Matthew 5:3, The Message). 3. receiving the counsel/accountability/shared life of the people of God. AND God shows Himself to be faithful in Word, Spirit, the Body of Christ, and life lived out in His Presence. Looking forward to new heavens and the new earth, what a joy to see glimpses here and now by the grace of God in the midst of trials/tribulations.

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