One of the things that I find difficult to respond to as a pastor is the number of times people come to me to talk to me about how disappointed they are in God. Please. No emails telling me that a decent pastor would have better answers for struggling people. I never said I was decent. But in all honesty, our capacity to blame God for stuff is amazing. Here’s a text I received this week from a guy who is in active addiction after a sustained period of sobriety.
“I don’t know how you can talk about God loving us; if he cared I wouldn’t be homeless.”
Yeah, well, I think maybe that crack addiction has SOMETHING to do with this current state of affairs.
Noted “theologian” George Costanza from Seinfield had a similar perspective.
George Costanza: God would never let me be successful; he’d kill me first. He’d never let me be happy.
Therapist: I thought you didn’t believe in God?
George: I do for the bad things.
When God makes his covenant with Noah after the flood, he’s telling us plain and simple what we can expect from him. God is saying, in essence, that he is choosing to be for us, not against us, even if we are prone to all sorts of aggravatingly ungodly ways. The covenant is God’s way of teaching us that although bad things will continue to occur, none of these bad experiences are founded in God’s aggravation with us. He is not nor never will be the enemy of his people. I know sometimes we wonder what God is up to in this world of chaos and craziness. There are so many questions and I notice that God doesn’t seem particularly pressured to constantly fill us in on the details of his plan.
But one thing we can discipline ourselves to do is remember that his comes as friend, not foe. He comes as advocate, not adversary. We may doubt the execution of his plans, question all sorts of things, doubt and wish for an easier way – but try to remember God’s promise to us. He is for us; not against us.