One night a few months ago I expressed to my wife Kristi that I was feeling overwhelmed. At that time she asked me an incisive question: “What are you believing about God right now?”
This is a brilliant question to ask any time you are feeling disquieted in spirit, or anytime you’re feeling depressed or discouraged.I answered Kristi, “Well, if I am feeling overwhelmed, I guess I’m believing that God is giving me too much to bear. I guess I’m believing that God won’t be faithful to help me. Which in essence means I guess I’m believing that God has lied to me and is not good.”
Kristi’s question revealed that I was thinking hard thoughts of God.
Many Christians think hard thoughts of God by believing their heavenly Father is continually disappointed with them. This reveals a deficient grasp of the Gospel, which tells us that in Christ God sees believers as justified — “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned,” and “just-as-if-I’d-always-perfectly-obeyed”. In other words, because of the blood of Christ God declares us not guilty, and because of the obedience of Christ God declares us to be positively righteous. Our heavenly Father looks upon his children with overflowing love, gentleness and compassion, not disappointment, anger and frustration. If we think that God is continually disappointed in us that is thinking hard thoughts of God. John Owen says,
“Consider that it is the greatest desire of God the Father that you should have loving fellowship with him. His greatest desire is that you should receive him into your soul as one full of love, tenderness and kindness to you. Flesh and blood is apt to think hard thoughts of God, to think that he is always angry and incapable of being pleased with his sinful creatures, that it is not for them to draw near to him…’I knew that you were a hard man’, said the evil servant in the Gospel.” (Communion with God, 31)
When we suffer and go through trials we can be tempted to think hard thoughts of God. We can think God is not good, God is not faithful, God does not hear my prayers, God does not have loving intentions toward me.
But the Bible is filled with promises like Lamentations 3:21-23:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
What are you believing about God right now? Do you have hard thoughts of God? Or do you believe your heavenly Father is filled with love and tender feelings for you? Do you believe he delights in you and rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17)? Do you believe he is good and working all things together for your good? Do you believe his steadfast love to you never ceases? Meditate today on God’s tender love for you in Christ and give him praise.
Originally published November 23, 2007
photo by rsvstks