What is your View of God?
I often drive to a street nearby, park at the end of it, then wander down to one of my favourite places.Tall gum trees whisper secrets to each other. A bold breeze stirs. Gravel crunches under my sneakers as I walk towards my happy place. I stop, I breathe in the sights and sounds. The sun warms my skin. Ducks swim ahead, gliding effortlessly. I lift up my eyes to heaven and thank God for the wonder of His world. Peace surrounds me. All is well.
A few weeks ago, I strolled around the lake, finding with surprise that every spot afforded a different view. In one place, there was mud and shallow water, in another I saw ducks waddling by the water’s edge, and moving eagerly into the lake. In a different area was a vast expanse of blue, shimmering as the sun’s rays caused jewelled flashes that blinded my eyes. Another spot was hidden and offered a log for me to sit on. In yet another area there were countless trees blocking my view so I couldn’t see the water beyond. I even found a desolate spot where the trees were browned and dying and no grass grew—had there been a fire?
Amazing! The lake was just one place. But that one place had a myriad different faces.
As I gazed on each of those dissimilar views in turn, truth shone bright within me like the sun’s rays at break of dawn. How we perceive a person or place is dependent on our perspective. When life is good, it’s easy to believe in a loving God. But when life is challenging, the truth of who God is, is too often swallowed up by our negative experiences and emotions.
Actually, I'd say that our view of God changes many times as we journey through life.
But do we see Him as He really is?
This past week I went through a minor crisis of faith as my ongoing battle with fibromyalgia reached a new high and my suffering became intense. Pain screamed in my ears so loudly that my perception of God was bruised by its strident tones. “Where are you God?” I pleaded. “I can’t bear this pain Lord. Please help me.” But God was silent and I was crushed. My view of His goodness, His compassion, His love and His power was distant due to my discomfort, like a large imposing wall which blocked the view of a flaming beautiful sunset.
God did not heal me. Neither did He respond. I cried for a long while, being sucked into a current of despair. I went to bed that night wrapped in a torn blanket of ragged emotions. Where was God? Why did He not respond to my cry for help when His Word promises He would?
The next morning God wooed me into my garden. As I sat down, cuppa in hand, He turned springtime’s button on. The world began to celebrate with bright splashes of colour and joyful tunes. Purple, orange, yellow and white blooms danced to the sound of the breezes. The sky was adorned with crisscross patterns made by white cotton clouds. I sat mesmerised, and His peace gently settled into my bones. It was then … that God finally spoke.
“He has made everything beautiful in His time." Ecclesiastes 3:11
A few moments later He spoke again. A second time. Soft. Distinct. Personal.
"I make all things beautiful at the right time, Nushi. Didn't you know?"
I heard Him and looked around me. My garden, awoken from its wintry slumbers was ablaze with the truth, A creeper formally bereft of leaves laughed at my surprise. “Look at me” it said. I did, fascinated. Tiny green leaves sprouted all over the once-dead creeper. Yes, God was making all things beautiful in His time and I was privy to His awesome secret. A butterfly darted from flower to flower, drunk in springtime joy. “Be like that butterfly.” God whispered to my heart. “Live. Trust. Be joyful. Because ... I make all things beautiful in My Time”.
So now … nothing has changed. But everything has.
If I had not believed in God before, this experience would have turned me into a believer. Instantly. Because it was one of the happiest days of my life. Yes. My health is still a battle. Yes, pain still prods me often like a rude uninvited guest trying to have her way. God hasn’t healed me … yet. But as sure as the day follows night, I know with fresh assurance that His love for me is abundant. Abundant even in the midst of pain. Scripture tells me who He really is. Memories of His faithfulness echo that same truth in a voice louder and more powerful than my pain.
When life is good (and I enjoy the beauty around me) I can trust Him completely.
But … even when trees obscure the view of the lake (and Him), I know it (and He) is there. When the ground is parched and the leaves are brown, I can still know His reality. Feelings might distort my vision. Circumstances might block my view. But the Truth remains. God is God, no matter what. Holy, compassionate, full of mercy, love, acting on my behalf, generous, majestic, powerful. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
When I walk around my lake I can choose what I focus on—the arid places or the lush green ones, the burnt grass that speak death or the rippling waters that speak life. I can focus on pain or feast on His goodness, concentrate on my feelings, or the truth of His Word, dwell on negative circumstances or the knowledge that He will work it all out for my good, think about my present trials or focus on Eternity which He promises to all who love Him.
What is your view of God? Has it been submerged under life’s hard places? Let me encourage your heart dear friend and lift you up. God hasn’t finished with me yet. He hasn’t finished with you either.
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Let's trust Him.
“He has also set eternity in the hearts of men."