Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Acts of God

"Acts of God". This is the term we usually apply to floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters. It brings with it an element of fear, and whether we admit it or not, a subtle sense of judgment from the hand of God. Thus the reason we call them "acts of God".

However, I have recently been considering a particular attribute of God - His goodness. That inherent quality of His character which inclines His heart to take pleasure in blessing His people. And "His people" is not an inclusive term but represents all His creation. "For He causes His sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:45)

What an amazing thought to consider that the God of the universe looks upon the earth and His hearts desire is to be generous. Not because we deserve it, but because there is something about who He is that brings infinite joy when He spreads His blessing throughout the earth.

Yet, our view of God is so warped that when we encounter a disaster that causes unimaginable pain and suffering, we call it "an act of God". And when rain falls gently upon the earth, we say, "What a pleasant rain."

And let me be honest. I'll be the first to admit that I struggle to accept His unmerited favor and blessing. I don't often relish in the knowledge that I am the object of His deepest affection.

Do you?

Do you consistently take the time to stop and appreciate the undivided attention that God directs toward you with a desire to embrace you with His goodness?

Is it not a true heart of worship when we recognize the character of God and respond in adoration and acceptance of His redemptive revelation. I for one could find myself doing this more often.

And one more thing...when we stop and consider the sinful decay of our world - to the point that even creation groans and longs for redemption (Rom 8:22) - is it not amazing that there is any semblance of order and blessing upon the earth at all? Is it not possible that the very reason any of us (believer or unbeliever) experiences goodness in a fallen world is evidence that God has invaded our space? Were it not for His goodness, would we not be plagued with the effects of sin including natural disasters of unimaginable magnitude and unstoppable frequency?

Truly then, the act of God is not in the disaster but in the peace preceding, the indwelling within and the restoration to follow.

If anything, disaster occurs because His restraining hand is lifted and the decay of sin takes it natural course as a curse leading to death. To experience a single day, a single moment of peace, is a reflection of His unfathomable goodness and unending grace.

Take time this week to read - to slowly read - Psalm 145. It ia a wonderful Psalm to remind us of the goodness of God. Here is a section to get you started:

"On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations." (Psalm 145:5-13)

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