The other day I wrote an essay while in the valley of disappointment with God. In that essay I said I often think, especially lately, how good it would be if God would take a seat in my living room and tell me, “Hush. It will be alright” You can read the essay here.But even as I wrote the essay, The Holy Spirit asked me why I think I need the Father to come into my living room and take a chair. After all, He left me the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles. They tell me all I need to know about God’s feelings toward me. They tell me often enough – “ Hush. It will be alright.” Of the hundreds of God’s promises I remember from 40 years of reading the Scriptures, here are some that filtered into my mind even as I contemplated the essay:
Behold I have engraved you in the palms of my hands. Your walls are always before me. (Isaiah 49:16);
I know the plans that I have for you, plans for your good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11);
I have seen your affliction. I am aware of your suffering. (Exodus 3:7);
I have loved you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3);
God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28);
What He opens, none can shut. What He shuts, none can open. (Revelation 3:7)
But as despondency settled over me, I argued with the Holy Spirit, telling Him how nice it would be, nonetheless, if the Father would take a seat in my living room.Two nights later I opened my Bible to the place I’d left off the night before. Luke 16. It starts off with the parable of the dishonest manager, moves into a brief interchange between Jesus and some Pharisees, and a quick verse about divorce. Then the Lord brings us the lesson of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
The Rich Man lived in sumptuous splendor within his mansion. Meanwhile, the beggar Lazarus sat outside the man’s gate, covered with sores and begging for crumbs. Neighborhood dogs roamed by to lick his weeping wounds.In time, both died. Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom (a picture of paradise) while the Rich Man was in torment in hell. Here is part of their conversation:
[The Rich Man] said, “Then, father [Abraham], I beg you to send [Lazarus] to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”’As soon as I read that last clause, ‘neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead,” the Holy Spirit changed a few words in my mind:
“Richard,” the Holy Spirit said to me, “you have Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and the words of Jesus. If you do not listen to them, neither will you be convinced even if the Father takes a seat in your living room.”Ouch.
I closed the Bible and repented for pouting. And for finding fault with God. And for insisting on seeing a fulfillment of my dreams, and not His. My hopes, and not His.Life’s circumstances often make it easy to succumb to doubt and to pouting. But the Holy Spirit always reminds us – if we will listen – we do not need to fret and worry and stew about any of those circumstances. Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and the words of Jesus assure us again and again – and again, God is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. (Psalm 145:17)
And we can cast all our broken dreams and shattered hopes on Him, because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)