02 September 2015

His ways are not our ways.

I've been meditating on how counter-intuitive this God of ours is.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. 
~Isaiah 55:8-9 
The only way we can express His thoughts and His ways is in impossibly outlandish contradictions, such as:
"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).
Who on earth washes things in blood in order to make them white?

Yesterday, as I was in prayer, marveling on the wonder of how He pours out blessing and healing and relationship for those who pursue Him, eager to receive, yet another totally counter-intuitive characteristic of the Living God struck me:

Yahweh's warfare is not killing.

It's HEALING.

When our God goes out to win a conflict in our world, when He empowers His servants to do His work, He does not destroy. He heals. The Todd White video I shared yesterday illustrates that powerfully. So often, in our own wisdom, we look and see God destroying in order to benefit us . . . but that is not His warfare. That is His mercy, poured out toward us as we labor in sin, giving us opportunity to see His goodness and to turn to Him and offer up the praise and thanksgiving He merits. And when we allow Him, by surrendering to His will, in His way, destruction does not follow. He is permitted to SAVE.

That is His nature, His character. It is what He won on the cross, and what He died to win. The right to save, against all odds, against all physical evidence, against all of the cries of justice, if someone simply opens their heart and lets go of everything but Him.

Jesus SAVES.

It's Who He Is, and the very essence of His being.

He IS salvation.

Healing.

Revelation.

Grace.

Joy.

God's warfare is HEALING.

Lord Jesus, show Your people Your goodness! Let us see the Father Heart of our God, and let us trust You more. Let us have faith we can walk on, no matter WHERE You call us to go, or WHAT You call us to do. Let us know Your love, hear Your wisdom, and walk out Your call to each of us, in Your holy name, amen.

9 comments:

  1. So does God ever inflict pain, suffering, illness, or disease? What do you make of this scripture?
    Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

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  2. I do not believe that God ever inflicts pain, suffering, illness or disease. Jesus won the victory over sin AND death. He came to give us life, and that more abundantly, as opposed to the adversary, whose entire existence is filled only with stealing, killing and destroying (John 10:10). Everywhere Jesus went, He healed every single person that asked for healing. Every one.

    One of the names of Jesus Christ is Jehovah Rapha: God my Healer. In Hebrew, names ARE identity. Part of the identity of God is that He heals. And He is good. Merciful. Just. Kind. Gracious. Loving. None of that tells me that God will ever inflict anything upon the children of men. Pain, suffering, illness and disease are all products of the fall, and as such are overcome through Jesus Christ.

    The natural man is absolutely an enemy to God . . . but that doesn't mean that God acts the part of the enemy to the natural man. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son. Jesus came to redeem the world--filled with natural men/sinners.

    It is the justice of God that the natural man be put to death through the rebirth that comes through Christ's victory--through the price paid by the blood of God shed for us. We all can be new creatures, born again through the power of His Spirit. When that happens, the natural man dies, and we are "quickened in the inner man" (Moses 6:65), and receive an understanding of spiritual things which wasn't possible to us before (1 Cor 2:14).

    Does that answer your question? I'm not entirely sure where you're coming from, as the verse you quoted from Mosiah doesn't seem to say that God hurts His kids.

    Thank you for stopping by to read, and God bless you!

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  3. Your answer is definitely helpful. I'm trying to shift my paradigm, after 40 years of believing that God gives us trials, such as illness, to help us grow. I think the word "inflicts" in the Mosiah scripture has a negative connotation in our language, which perhaps wasn't the original intention. I think maybe it means we need to submit to the things the Father asks of us personally.

    In your experience, how does being "born again" relate to baptism of fire? Are they the same thing?

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  4. Yes, being born again is the baptism of fire. It's the point at which your nature is changed, and you have no more desire to do evil, but do good continually. :o)

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  5. Do you still get irritated, ornery, or depressed sometimes?

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  6. Also, LDS theology teaches that the Spirit leaves when offended, which doesn't make sense if the Holy Ghost is your CONSTANT companion. What do you think about that?

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  7. Absolutely.

    I know, though, that it's the enemy's desire for me to be oppressed and defeated. It's God's desire to heal and lift. There isn't any purpose in me being sick or grumpy that forwards the work of God, which is establishing His kingdom, which brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Much to the contrary. However, when I'm in right relationship with Jesus, He heals and supports me so I have capacity to endure and pray over things I see and ache for in others' lives. My energy should go towards healing others' hurts and mourning with those that mourn, not struggling to just maintain my own existence, you know?

    Jesus came to give us life, and that more abundantly. So when irritation, orneriness or depression comes, I know I can turn to Jesus. He sends His Spirit to "team lift" with me, and my burdens are lifted. (Sometimes it takes a nap or a nutritious snack, too. ;-)

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  8. Thank you, I appreciate your perspective. It's very helpful. :)

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  9. Sorry I missed your theology question!

    Whether you believe that the Holy Ghost is your own spirit cleansed by the baptism of fire, or that it's the Spirit of God that dwells in you, it doesn't go anywhere. We only awaken to its constant existence and influence when we begin to learn about Jesus Christ, accept Him and His salvation, and are born again (at some point--it's sometimes co-incident, but not always). D&C 88:6-13 shows that Jesus is in all and through all things He created, is the power by which they exist and operate. (Especially verse 13. I think this truth is where the Catholic doctrine that God is everywhere and nowhere came from.) So, there's no getting away from the Spirit--no matter which way you look at it. You can only silence it, ignore it, harden your heart and mind, giving them over to the enemy of our souls and making yourself an island of damnation amidst the sea of love and salvation that is the power and presence of God which sustains all creation.

    At least, that's how I look at it. ;o) There's no getting away from God's Spirit. You can only ignore it.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!