Friday, January 18, 2008

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

While reading about Abraham and Sarah in Genesis the Lord stopped me in my tracks with Genesis 18:14: "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" Abraham and Sarah had been promised a child, but they doubted and took matters into their own hands. The results have been devastating even to this day. When Sarah told Abraham to have a child through her maidservant, Hagar, I bet they never dreamed this "wild donkey of a man" would still be wreaking havoc even into our generation.

Sometimes I doubt, like Abraham and Sarah, especially when I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. But God speaks through his word and says to me, "Susan, is there anything too hard for me?" I know the answer, "No," but I need those nudges from the Lord to carry me through.

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2
Are you thinking that something in your life is too hard for the Lord to handle?
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is refuge.
Psalm 62:8


Ebi said...

Two questions spring up often, and often cross my mind accordingly:

“Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” And the other addresses the critical question “How should one respond to the experience of evil and suffering?” (Even if convinced that God is the direct cause!)

The first is the Parable of the Weeds from Matthew 13:36-43/47-52:

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn’.”

[And then Jesus explained further ...]

Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

So the short answer, to me, seems to be that God has not yet vanquished evil and suffering because he is still building the Kingdom, and the process of doing so is not mutually exclusive from the evil and suffering we experience.

The passage addressing the second question is from Amos 4:6-11:

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. “I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

I mean, wow! Talk about tough love. God doesn’t mess around. I know that someone like Richard Dawkins might point to a passage like this as an example to justify the view that the God of the Bible must be some type of monster that even if real is not worthy of worship, but I think they would tragically be making the same mistake that the Israelites
in this passage made. I find it to ironically be an incredibly hope-filled example of God’s love expressed through discipline, and a clear instruction of what everyone should do when faced with hardships of any kind, even if we can’t understand them or are convinced that God himself is the cause: return to Him. Sadly, it seems that so many people do exactly the opposite.

A lot can be gleaned from these passages on pain, suffering, doubt, and hardship, and I think they relate and complement the truth that nothing is too hard for the Lord, and that we must come to Him when we cross these questions.

WayneDawg said...

ebi - Very insightful!

Those are good questions that are asked many, many times by people who do and do not understand the God of the Scriptures.

God is still building His Kingdom but don't forget that evil itself is a direct result from the fall and that God is patient and longsufferring with mans evil.

Which, by the way, is why He also gives everyone a chance to repent so they will not perish (2 Pet 3:9)