A new year's spiritual assessment
By Mike Singenstreu
Dec. 29, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.
Updated Dec. 30, 2017 at 1 a.m.
As we begin this new year, let's take a spiritual assessment. What image of God do you have in your head right now? Let's be honest, many Christians have a hard time trying to figure Him out.
Lots of things happen that just don't make sense. And since they don't make sense, we seek to excuse God from any culpability by saying something like He just permits these things to happen.
But what does that mean? When we say He couldn't have stopped it so because He is God, he must have permitted it for some reason. Or, He permits things in the sense that, "Well, that is not exactly how I would have done it but, oh well, they have to learn." Or He permits things to happen because He just doesn't have time to handle everything or He can't be everywhere at once or He is probably too busy with other things at the moment.
None of these define God or His permissive will. This is what we say of overwhelmed parents: We permit our kids to get away with things because we are too busy or we don't want to deal with conflict or after the fact, they ask forgiveness, and we just let it go. So what image of God do you have in your head right now?
Many things have happened in 2017 that we would have never believed would happen. How could God permit all the destructions and loss of life that occurred in the hurricanes this season? How could God have allowed all those believers to die in a small church in Sutherland Springs? How could God permit such sorrow? So you need to ask yourself, what image of God do you have in your head right now?
If your God wouldn't permit such things to happen, then you haven't met the God of the Bible. This God has ordained, not just permitted, all things that come to pass, like the birth of our children, the spouses that we are married to, the homes in which we live, the jobs we get to work in, the churches that we love to worship in as well as the hardship and struggle that surround us.
All of it to teach us to endure this life, for a better one is coming for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior and King. And each new year reminds us that we are that much closer to that better life - when Jesus returns and makes all things new.
So, what image of God do you have in your head right now? If you aren't certain anymore, read through the Bible, writing out each image of God that you see - His nature, His character, His purposes are all on display.
Nothing is hidden for those who are His so you might come away with a proper vision of the God who is.
Mike Singenstreu is the pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, PCA, meeting in the Crossroads Center at 1929 Red River St.