Sunday, June 9, 2013

God of Good and Bad

Some of you are going to hate this but I am going to say it anyhow. God is the creator of good and bad. There.

Doesn't that give you peace? Or, are you totally freaking out right now? 


If we are looking to scripture for our faith foundations, I think it is critical to recognize that this God we claim to believe in is the ruler of all. He created this world and everything in it. If I claim this,even a child can deduce that he created both the good and the bad. Good tidings and bad tidings are under his control.

I have seen grown, faithful adults shaking in their boots when topics like this are discussed and I have such a hard time understanding what is so scary about this idea. 

 
For far too many years (starting in the 60's) there was this phenomenon of "God is love" teaching going on in churches. This strategy for Christian education was a shallow attempt at the revelation of God in this world. While I do believe that God is love, I also can recognize that my understanding of that statement is just my understanding. There is so much that has to go unanswered when it comes to my belief in a all powerful deity. 

I have experienced a few difficult trials in my life so I am not completely naive to the "bad things" I am referring to. As a child and a youth, I learned what it was like to be left out and ostracized by people who I thought were my friends. As an teen and adult I learned what it was like to disappoint people and myself. I learned what it was like to end a relationship and be rejected by a lover. I experienced the pain of death when my grandfather, uncle and father all died so close together. I experienced the horror of watching a parent suffer from cancer and the affect it had on my family. These examples are trials that I have perceived as "bad things" as I have grown up. 


 As a kid, I thought Satan was doing these bad things. I was so scared of this lurking evil in the world that was constantly trying sabotage the goodness God provides me. As a teen I thought these bad things were the result of human free will as we are given the opportunity to choose our paths and often choose wrong. God would never do something bad to someone.

Would He not?

Have you read the Old Testament? Did you hear that he made sure his only son was killed in the most painful manner ever created by man? 

I have a friend who cannot accept that he even believes in God now that he has read the entire Old Testament. It has shattered his faith because his faith was yoked to the message that our God is love. 


 It is hard to describe how I am at peace with this understanding. God is love. I believe that God is love and when we are tapped into Him we will experience love. We can choose to experience God as love through all these trials by being present to his provision, being present to our becoming love. However, to me, claiming that God is the creator of all is claiming that God created bad. God created bad, created sin, created hate, created death, created pain. 

Someone once told me, as I was mourning the death of my dad, that he knew that God would never take a man I loved away from me again. It was such a nice thought but I knew that my God took everything away from Job. Job lost all he ever loved or wanted. I knew that my God had the power to do it all and my call is simply to tap into His life-force while he does it. I have to trust Him. I knew that he could and would let my loved ones died in front of me. Bad things will happen to me again.

My daily experience of goodness and love comes from living graphed to the Spirit. I don't receive joy from the idea that bad things will not ever happen to me again. I receive joy from being tapped into God.

I don't know about you, but I am far more comforted by the thought that my God whose love I have experienced and whose provision I know intimately, is behind the bad things that happen to me. I would much rather know that the creator of the universe is in control of ALL things rather than only in control of the good things.

I used to get angry when someone would say to me "It is God's will that your dad died." Now that I am in a different season in life and have experienced the immense growth and incredible healing that came from my dad's death, I believe that what was said was right.

Most perceptions I make about "bad" things usually are wrapped around death in some capacity. We tend to view death as a bad thing that happens. If I claim to be a Christian who believes that Jesus conquered death then why is the scariest, worst thing I can think of... death?

At the end of the day, I want to be a believer who does not fear. I want to be a believer who knows that my God is 100% behind ALL of creation even the things that I perceive as bad. I want to be a believer who knows that God is love and trusts His provision. I want to be a believer who is OK with the mystery of God. 

My God is the creator, period.

I think Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros explain what I am trying to get at best with their song "I don't wanna pray":


I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made hate
I love my god, god made hate
I love my god, god made good
I love my god, god made good
I love my god, god made bad
I love my god, god made me

But I don't wanna pray to my maker
I just wanna be what I see
Not just who I am, but the pink in golden land
And that wide wild sky over me
Help me to the sun, hey I'm looking everywhere
See I'm looking to become not the prayer, but the prayer.
And now I don't wanna pray, no
I say I don't wanna pray, no
And I, I don't wanna pray
I don't wanna pray

I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made good
I love my god, god made hate
I love my god, god made bad
I love my god, god made

I don't wanna pray to my maker
I just wanna be feelin' free
Not like in a book, or the leaves of trees that shook
From a word that means only not a thing
Pardon god and mom, what I'm sayin' isn't fair
See I'm looking to become, not the prayer but the prayer
And now I don't want to pray
I say I don't wanna pray
I don't wanna pray
Who don't wanna pray

Not much good to talk, better to walk it
Not much good to take, better to give
We are gone forgiven and forgotten of our sins
I promise you my friend all that dies will live again
Pardon god and mom, what I'm sayin' isn't fare
See I'm looking to become, not the prayer but the prayer
And now I don't want to pray
No, they say I don't wanna pray
I don't wanna pray
Who don't wanna pray

I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made love
I love my god, god made hate
I love my god, god made hate
I love my god, god made good
I love my god, god made good
I love my god, god made bad
I love my god, god made me