Knowing Like God Knows

You will be like God.
Alluring words, but deadly ones, because they flow from a forked-tongue. “Like God” sounds good until you look at the details: knowing like God knows means knowing what is good and what is evil just like God knows what is good and what is evil. How does God know what is good and what is evil? He uses His own goodness to evaluate all else. It works perfectly for Him, but only because He is good through and through. It doesn’t work for any other being, natural or supernatural. The serpent’s alluring words spring from a warped character and lead to death. The same thing happens when we use our own character to evaluate our circumstances, because we also aren’t good through and through – our forked-hearts kill our joy. Knowing like God knows can only be done by God.

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For a long time I thought I loved our kids more than my husband did. I came to this conclusion because he didn’t hurt like I did when the kids had a hard time. Their struggles bothered me a lot more than they bothered him. I hated “kid-pain.” I wanted to fix it. I wanted to fix it right away. My husband seemed much more composed. He was quite willing to let the kids work things through. To me, loving a kid meant stopping their pain. To him, loving a kid meant doing whatever would help them mature. I thought him insensitive.

If my husband loved our kids as much as I did, wouldn’t their pain tear at his heart the way it tore at mine? Maybe. But maybe not.

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Necessary Pain

I am convinced that pain is necessary. If the word “necessary” causes you to put up a wall and stop paying attention, I’ll soften my vocabulary and say that pain is purposeful. (But I really mean necessary.)

At first pass, the concept of “necessary pain” doesn’t make much sense. To most of us our troubles seem at best unnecessary and at worst the cruel work of an uncaring God. Pain causes us to wrestle with the basics of God’s character. If God cares, if He’s good, why doesn’t He remove our pain? Perhaps He doesn’t care; perhaps He isn’t good; perhaps He has no power over pain. Or, perhaps God has His reasons for allowing pain, even horrific pain, to invade our lives.

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Forgiveness: Is There Any Other Way?

In Gethsemane’s garden, Jesus prays in agony: My Father, if this [cup] cannot pass away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42); Father,if it is possible, let this hour pass me by (Mark 14:35); Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done (Luke 22:42). Matthew, Mark, and Luke each pick up different nuances of Jesus’ cry to the Father. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ active cooperation with His Father’s will: unless I drink it. Mark points us to Jesus’ longing for a less horrific solution to our alienation from God: Is there any other way, any other possibility? Luke makes clear the Father’s will: There is no other way. The Father’s words aren’t recorded for our ears, but Jesus hears them , surrenders., and continues His walk towards this necessary pain.

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Looking Out My Back Door

I am, as I write, sitting on my screen porch, looking out my back door over the railing at scenery I’ve delighted in for years. But I’m not enjoying it now, not really, because tomorrow we move out. And I’m sad. So many happy memories, out here on the porch and inside this home. I’ll never again find myself looking out my back door – not this back door over this railing to these trees. Never again. I miss my view even before it’s gone.

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