Monday, July 20, 2015

God's Not Mad

Isaiah 54:9-10 says,
“To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (NIV)

Through this passage I learned that God was not mad at me. He gently accepted me and patiently reinforced His promises to me through months and even years of my faltering between faithfulness and unfaithfulness. The first thing I needed to learn was that God loved me unconditionally. He loved me when I was “good” and when I was “bad.” My behavior did not change His love for me. It took several years for me to believe God loved me. My heart was so calloused from years of protecting itself from pain and rejection, that although God showered His love upon me lavishly and relentlessly, I was barely able to grasp a faint notion of its presence. I had a concept of love that was extremely warped.

Not only did I subconsciously believe that God’s love was conditional, I supposed, for many, many years that God’s love was selfish, self-serving, abusive, insensitive, and exploitive.  Now, certainly, I would have never have  had such thoughts on a conscious level, but, looking back, I can see how I demonstrated them by my beliefs and actions.  I misinterpreted the teachings I heard, such as, “God uses trials to build our character.”  In my mind, I thought God was would deliberately bring painful circumstances into my life and, sitting aloof in a comfortable heaven with His arms crossed, coldly watching me get beat up by life until I figured out by trial and error what I needed to learn.  Then, and only then, when or if I succeeded, would He be willing to bless my life and put me in a job or ministry so I could help others. I never expected Him to do anything about the deep wounds in my heart except teach me to ignore them.

Even though I read the Word and listened to good teaching, my mind was like a carousel, playing the same song and traveling the same circle, round and round. No matter how many times I heard that God loved me unconditionally and wanted me to have an abundant, overflowing life of joy and peace, I didn’t “hear” it.  Whatever entered the carousel went round and round with the carousel, and sang the same song, until it sounded just like the carousel.  ‘God loves you’ turned into ‘God only cares about whether you are behaving well and He will bring whatever pain and  torment He needs to until you get it right.’  I think that is why He continually led me to read the same chapter over and over till it finally started to change my thinking.

  “So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” 

In the same way, I have listened to certain CD’s repeatedly because I would hear the message, believe the message, forget the message, act a fool, then hear, believe, and forget, until finally, little by little, my mind began to be transformed.

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