Sunday, April 13, 2008

Doubting the Goodness of God

“The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

Satan has a way of going right for the jugular. On that fateful day when He tempted Eve into the very first sin in the Garden of Eden, he used exactly the right weapon. Satan made Eve doubt God. He did this by suggesting that God’s motives were not completely altruistic. The reason God made the big rule about the tree in the middle of the garden was because He didn’t want Adam and Eve to rival Him. It was a command created to preserve His superiority over His creation. Eve fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Doubting God’s goodness and wisdom is really at the root of most of our sin, I think. When we make the conscious decision to disobey Him, at the very foundation of our decision is the thought that God does not want what is in our best interests. So we go off on our own, feeding our own desire for pleasure or satisfaction. Sadly, the sin does not satisfy as we thought. It is like a mouth full of cotton candy. The pleasure quickly fades, and we are only left with the cleanup of the destruction we have caused with our cavalier actions.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I confided my fear to my mom that I would probably not make a good mother. My mom had always been so generous with my sister and I. She would rather herself go without in order to provide some thing that we wanted. “I’ll never be as generous with my kids,” I told her. “I am just too selfish.”

Mom reassured me that I would think differently once the baby was born. “When it’s your own,” she told me, “It is no sacrifice.”

Astonishingly, I found this to be true. Putting my children’s needs before my own was almost an instinct. I understood for the first time what it was to love with no thought of getting something in return. It was enough to watch their delight over what I could give them. Their pleasure was truly my greatest pleasure.

If this could be true of this very human mother, who is most definitely sinful and faulty in her efforts at love, it must be infinitely true of our Heavenly Father, who loves us perfectly. Jesus told his disciples: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)

God takes pleasure in His people. (Psalm 149:4) He delights in providing us with good things. And He is good. All the time.

When we begin to understand His goodness and delight in us, we can begin to choose His way for us over our own plans. We can see the principles set before us in scripture which instruct us in our actions as more than a bunch of rules. Rather, they are guidelines to give us the best life possible. His desire is to give us the best of everything. While we think we know what we need, in His wisdom, He gives us what we really need. If we could just trust Him in this, we would save ourselves a whole lot of pacing around and shaking our fist. He is on our side. He knows what we need and what is best for us. We just need to trust Him.

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