Forgiving God | Articles | GracePoint Church | Lodi

Forgiving God

    October 18, 2021 | Devotionals by Linda Opp


    Once I met a woman who lived at a halfway house. She volunteered her story of addiction and then told me about her husband. He had a difficult childhood with an abusive mother, which put him on his own road of addiction, sadness, and self-pity. His wife had found comfort and joy in knowing God, but her husband wasn't ready to go there. I could see the love and wisdom in her eyes when she said, “A lot of bad things happened to him that weren’t his fault, but he needs to forgive God.”

    This seems like a heretical statement. It’s backward. We don’t forgive God. God forgives us. But don’t call the theology police just yet. This woman was absolutely right.

    The truth is that we can know a lot of doctrine without connecting it to our experiences and feelings. For the record, I love theology. I read commentaries for fun. But I could have doctrine down pat, and never wrestle with the pain buried deep in my Sunday-Schooled soul.

    So what’s this business about forgiving God? Well, as we all know, the world is often a painful place. A lot of bad stuff happens that isn't our fault. Our hopes and dreams get turned on their heads. Disappointment, resentment, and anger simmer in our souls. We deserve so much better than what we’ve got. God could change things if he wanted to, so why doesn’t he?

    Many of our hardships are minuscule when compared with the barrage of illness, abuse, economic privation, war, starvation, and persecution that we read about daily. But the pain of it is real, nonetheless. And we need to forgive God for not fixing the situation that causes us pain.

    Forgiving God is in reality acknowledging God’s right to be in charge of our lives. It means letting go of our plans and settling in while God works out his mysterious, seemingly nonsensical plan. It's about coming to terms with the fact that our faith needs to be in God, not in the outcome we pray for. It's about letting God be God.

    We can quote the passages about God’s ways being higher than our ways, and God’s complete knowledge of all the things we're ignorant of, and how everything he does or allows is for a good purpose. The Sunday School answers are the right answers, but we need all that stuff in our heads to make it into our hearts.

    Forgiving God doesn’t mean I’ll stop hurting. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop praying and hoping that things will change. It does mean I’ll let God meet me in the hurting. I’ll let him whisper peace and trust into my soul. Because that’s really the point of everything – knowing God. I’m grateful for the dear woman who unwittingly exhorted me to forgive God. And I hope her husband will someday forgive him, too.

    The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.
    Psalm 34:18

    Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
    Psalm 147:5

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