I have a few friends who are non-believers. (Some of you may even be reading this post.) And while I totally get their skepticism, it hurts. It hurts to know that they are removed from God, removed from the promise of an eternity with our Creator. I love these people. I would love to see them in eternity. But our friendships have been, "hey, we're all good, as long as you don't bring that religion stuff into it."
I get it. They've have been hurt by the Church, they feel religion is too restricting or perhaps too convicting. They have far too often witnessed the hypocrisy of believers who have stumbled (I wonder how many times I have been the reason someone has decided against God instead of for Him.)
But some...some say they can't believe in God because of His "troubled past."
Let's be honest: some of God's history is tough to swallow. Plagues, disease, wars, death. As believers, we are often confronted with questions about God that are hard—if not impossible—to answer. Ours is a simple but at the same time complex religion. Those who do not believe have a lot of questions that, on the surface anyway, appear to put a chink in our spiritual armor:
“If there’s a God, then why is there so much pain, suffering, disaster, death?”
“If He really is a loving God, why would He kill so many people?”
"If God really 'so loves the world', why even allow for a place of eternal damnation?"
“If God knows everything, then He knew man would sin against Him. So why bother?"
"Why even create a world where His only Son needed to die?”
A lot of people ask these questions as if they are some some "aha!" moment that proves, "see, there couldn't possibly be a God." But what if...what if God's troubled past is really the greatest evidence that He's real?
Think about it: what these skeptics are really saying is, "God can't be real because He's not the God we would create."
Read that quote again and let the irony sink in.
The rock band AC/DC famously asked the question "Who Made Who?" While the song is most likely referring to the relationship between man and machine, It's a fair question for the church too. Did God make us or did we make Him? Here's my answer: Who in their right mind would make up this God?
The skeptics are right. This is not the God we would create.
If we could drum up our own version of God, He would be someone who doesn't allow suffering, doesn't allow death and pain and sorrow. He would be peaceful, caring, loving. He would provide only good, no wrath. Yes, Christians could have avoided all the scrutiny if we had just said, “Our God never started wars. He never caused a flood to wipe out humanity. He never spilled blood.” Almost everyone would love that God, right? But just because God isn't the way we want Him to be, doesn't mean He's not real. In fact, it may be the very proof doubters are seeking that God is real.
You see, I believe God created this world and therefore has the right to do whatever He pleases with it. And maybe, just maybe, there's a justice that is beyond my comprehension. Maybe it all makes sense in heaven, but will never be fully comprehensible here on Earth. Maybe the way God loves us is so far beyond what we understand love to be, that all of God's past makes perfect sense. Once you get to the point of "God is God and I am not":, there's a peace to that, I think. Doesn't mean we won't ever question again, but there is some sort of peace to it.
Don't let God's troubled past be a reason for not believing. Instead, realize that God's past isn't something humans would have created. And if we didn't create it, well then...