Our expectations of God: Life

Published 10:34 am Friday, January 5, 2018

By Al Early

Last week I started this series on expectations of God with comfort. Our expectations of God concerning life are pretty straight forward.

For ourselves, and all we love, we want God to bring us into the world, live a good long life, and then die peacefully in our old age. Anything else shakes us up, and there is a whole lot of shaking going on!

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I think most of the people I know who are atheists, or have weak faith, struggle with this expectation.

Someone they loved became sick, everyone prayed for that loved one, instead of getting better their loved one died, and the wounds of loss go very deep.

Whether it was Mom, a sibling, or a best friend, God answered our prayers the wrong way, therefore God is not good (which leads to a weak faith), or God does not exist at all (which leads to atheism).

Isn’t it fair of us to have the expectation of God that if He gives us someone we love and care for dearly, that loved one should be with us most if not all our lives?

God never promises us that all our loved ones will live long and die old and peaceful. In fact, God promised much more than that at the beginning of creation.

We read in Genesis 2 that Adam and Eve and all the other people and creatures of the Garden of Eden were not supposed to ever die.

They were to live forever because they could eat of the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9). There was only one rule in the Garden of Eden, just onerule. Don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17).

We don’t know how many people God put in the Garden of Eden or how long they lived there. As long as no one broke the one rule, none of that mattered.

Genesis 3 tells us about the fall of humanity, and with it the fall of creation.

When God cast everyone out of the Garden they could no longer eat from the Tree of Life, and so death entered into our lives as we have struggled to live in this fallen world ever since (Genesis 3:21-24).

Therefore, it is unfair of us to expect God to allow all our loved ones to live a full life, and die in the right order of things.

Our God is good, and He has not left us alone to battle the winds of fate in this fallen world.

First, He did not stay in His perfect Garden when He cast us out. He promises to be with us always, to comfort us, strengthen us, and watch over us when we are grieving the loss of loved ones, or have to face our own death.

When we believe and trust in Him through our faith in Jesus Christ, these promises will be experienced with life transforming power.

Second, we can trust our loved ones to God. He promises to take care of our loved ones who believe in His son Jesus for eternity, and heaven is a place that is so glorious Jesus could only tell people about it using metaphors (see Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 13 for some examples).

I find the experiences of people who have legally died, and been resuscitated, to be fascinating, as they believe God has shown them a glimpse of the glories of heaven. When they tell of their experience God always gives them the choice to come back or stay, and it is a very hard choice.

However, the time is not right for them to begin their lives in heaven, and they return, only to look forward for the rest of their lives to the day they get to return to heaven.

We can expect God to guarantee that life always wins out over death when we have faith in Jesus Christ.

Finally, in Revelation 21 and 22 we read about God’s greatest promise which is to restore the Garden of Eden, and establish the New Jerusalem.

We will again get to eat from the Tree of Life (Revelation 2:7; 22:2,14,19), so that death will no longer be a part of our lives. When that day comes we do not know for sure, but we can trust it will come because God promises us it will happen, and God always keeps His promises.

Are you struggling with grief right now? Have you asked God to heal you through your faith in Jesus Christ? Have you trusted in Him with all your heart? If you gave up on God a long time ago I hope you will reconsider that decision as you begin a new year.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see www.lagrangepres.com.