Life Is Hard....God Is Good

Life Is Hard....God Is Good

At SPAR I mentioned as illustration the 3 types of people (I believe this to be a Tim Keller observation):

Life is good, God is good
Life is not good, God is not good
Life is not good, God is good

A question was posed to me by email:

"You listed 3 different types of people last night, and how the person who thinks that Life is hard and God is good, is the only one who will draw near to God.

 I wonder how a person who perceives Life as good and God as good can change their perspective?"

Here is my response:
First, let's stay in reality and truth. Both tell us that life is hard. Sin and death bring with it the tragedies of life. Under that category we experience pain, loss and consequence. The first type of person in the list of three was one who views "life is good and God is good". Life works for this person. They've had a good childhood, needs met and love expressed. Expectations moved them to education, career, marriage and family life. Church and like minded friends have created a community to reinforce this mindset.  Ps. 73 speaks of a man who sees this person and is both captivated and confused by them.

For this person I would conclude that the game of life is not over. Though some may view this life as blessed by God, the bible would say otherwise....a plant with shallow root, a house built on sand - both appear to look well and secure. It is 'tragedy' and adversity that reveals the strength of its foundation.

If this person can cushion life to such an extent that tragedy and adversity are diverted or paid off (there are many problems money can solve), they may conclude as did Nebuchadnezzar, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"

If life is measured by externals then God is seen as nothing more than a blessing for hard work and determination. To draw close to God in a personal way is of little value.

Your question is, how can one in this place change their perspective?
The easy answer is simply this - good theology.

Life is hard, God is good is good theology. This truth is embraced in the other kingdom - the Kingdom of God - "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all."

The imperative, "Do not be anxious," is in the understanding of God's love and provision for you.

The truth? God wants to be our life, our dream come true. He is our provider both externally and internally. He satisfies my soul, fulfills my deepest need. Not that my life will be free from tragedy or adversity, but that His peace will be my strength in it. His joy provides an internal strength and external expression that brings the world to question, and God glory. God's grace is sufficient, his strength is made perfect in weakness!

Now it's from that place that this world God has created makes sense!

God never intended this world to satisfy.

He intended this world to be enjoyed! Notice for moment how your body has been created. Our senses are for our pleasure! Taste, smell, sight, touch, hear, it is the world that has perverted everything God intended for pleasure, why? Because they use what has been created for their fulfillment.

When God is your fulfillment then the world becomes your enjoyment. "I have come to give you life and that to the full."

So you see, "life is hard" doesn't mean one lives in defeat. On the contrary, we live intentionally with purpose, reasonable with wisdom because we know reality - 2 Cor. 4:8 " we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Life is hard, God is good - in that reality I enjoy the substance of both life and relationship. Giving God the glory and reaping eternal life!

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