Miss This One Thing and Nothing Makes Sense

Ever wonder why things turn out the way they do?

As a Christian Counselor I am with my clients at a time of their deepest sorrows and often the question that is most asked is – why?

Why did I lose my job? Why did my spouse leave me? Why am I faced with this health issue? Why? Why? Why?

At times like these, there are no quick and easy answers. Pulling out the systematic theology book and explaining original sin or the curse does nothing to comfort a broken heart. So I want to take these few moments to see if we can come to a basic understanding of how the universe works so that when we come to those inevitable times of crisis we have something solid to under-gird our faith and bring perspective to our suffering.

And this is it –

This universe does not revolve around you and it was not created for your comfort and ease.

Does that sound harsh? Maybe, if we somehow hold the belief that the greatest possible good is that we be happy, satisfied and free from pain. Not too many Christians would outwardly express this belief but many of us live this philosophy by de facto. We see anything in light of how it betters our lives. Therefore anything that would cast a shadow over our dreams and ambitions is considered contrary to the way the world is “supposed” to work.

But that is not what God says. He holds exclusive rights over the purpose of the universe and he has that privilege since HE CREATED IT.  

So what does God say is the purpose of the universe? One thing – to show forth his glory!

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
— Psalm 19:1 NIV

Glory: The outward manifestation of the invisible character and attributes of God

And when it comes to us humans we were also created to bring God glory.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do
— Ephesians 2:10 NIV

It this narcissistic of God? Is he some sort of self-aggrandizing despot who demands all the attention? That would be correct if it weren’t true that he rightly deserves all the glory. Just as air and water are to life so is God’s glory to the universe. It is a fundamental fact we must understand, otherwise we live in a continued state of confusion and frustration. If we deny this reality nothing else makes any sense.

Like it or not we live in God’s world and we find our true place only when we are in alignment with this true purpose – to bring him glory.

So how does this affect the way I live?

I just received an email from a friend who was ranting about another friend who was about to go through cancer surgery. This person was saying that it was definitely God’s will that they are healed and that this surgery was a lack of faith. Is that true? Let’s look at the premise.

  1. Cancer causes pain.
  2. Pain is bad for humans.
  3. Whatever is "bad" for humans is not God's will
  4. Therefore, it is God’s will that we are healed.

This premise is based upon the belief that whatever is perceived as “bad” for humans must not be God’s will. Therefore, our “good” is the primary goal. But what if it gave God greater glory that we go through the trial rather than escape it? You see, when we stop and ask the question – “Lord what would bring you the greatest glory?” it completely changes the dynamic of the trial. We become open to the new possibility that God can grant us the strength to go through the trial and in that time reveal himself and deepen our character. This is how we find ourselves in alignment with the true purpose of the universe. This is why God answered Paul the way he did when he was going through a time of trials.

“My grace is sufficient, my power is perfected in weakness”. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV“My grace is sufficient, my power is perfected in weakness”.
— Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Our cry to our Lord is “Lord glorify yourself”

How else can we make sense of what Jesus prayed to the Father the night before he was crucified?

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you
— John 17:1 NIV

Jesus’ death on the cross was the physical demonstration of his great love for us – it showed us beyond any doubt that we are cherished beyond measure and have unimaginable value. It revealed the heart of the Father and the Son to us.

We are an extraordinarily blessed people for it is God’s will that he shows his glory through loving and redeeming us. But never mistake his love, mercy, and kindness as somehow diminishing his rightful place.

I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.
— Isaiah 42:8 NIV

So our prayer when we enter into hardship must be, “Lord, show me how you can be most glorified in this situation – help me to show you as you truly are and reveal your greatness”

This attitude requires real maturity. But if we ever want to find true life we will inevitably come to this place. Because apart from this understanding this whole existence thing just doesn’t make sense.

Love you

James