The Gospel and Us: God is for us

God for us

Several years ago, I sat in a restaurant for lunch with a friend who also happened to be my boss. We had become good friends after working with each other for about 3 months. That day was like any old day, where we would meet up for lunch, discuss football or basketball, talk about what was going on at work, etc… I had come to really appreciate our friendship in the sense that I didn’t have many friends who I could relate to in the way that I could relate to him in that time period of my life. We had similar backgrounds in family history, upbringing, and how we often dealt with life problems. He was older by five years, so I somewhat looked up to him as a role model in my life at the time.

I remember this one particular day and conversation like it just happened yesterday. It was a few days after Christmas and its one of those conversations that you just don’t forget. My friend walked into the restaurant, sat down and we proceeded with the usual small talk around our weekends, the latest sports news and scores, plans for work that day. The waitress came around to take our drink and food orders and then she left. The place the was somewhat at capacity that day, which was unusually surprising considering not many people like to eat there. The waitress came back with our drink orders and told us that our food would be out in the next 15 mins (she knew us well as regulars).

“My wife is leaving me…”

Five words that changed my friend for the rest of his life.

Five words that told me my friend’s world was falling apart.

Five words that painted a picture of how much pain and brokenness exist in the world today.

As I looked him in the eye to try and grasped what he just told me, I could see the pain, I could see the devastation, I could see the confusion, I could see the sense of being lost. His world had just came crashing down on him and he had no idea why, when, how, what, or where. All he knew was that his wife was leaving him, meaning he would have to split his time with his kids, meaning a potential custody battle could take place, meaning he would have to hire a divorce lawyer, meaning he would have to get a second job to be able to make enough to provide for his kids, meaning life as he knew it was over.

He eventually placed his face in his hand as to signal he needed time to re-process that thought all over again. The waitress returned with our food and asked if we needed anything. I told her we needed the check and some to-go boxes. I felt this wasn’t the best place to have this conversation with my friend. He needed some privacy to flesh out all that was bottled up inside of him. We returned to his office where he proceeded to breakdown and rehash the entire conversation with his wife. He woke up Christmas morning to open presents with his family only to find them completely packed and ready to leave.

I bring up this moment to tell you about a question he asked me in the retelling of the events surround his wife leaving him. In the midst of his tears, anger, confusion, disappointment, he asked me a question that at the time seemed so big and left me speechless.

“Why is God working against me?”

Isn’t that a question we’ve all asked a time or two? If we’re being completely honest in this moment, we can all admit to having those thoughts. Could God be possibly working against me. It just seems like no matter what I do, nothing works in my favor. We’ve all been there and done that. Its human nature for us to doubt the man upstairs in his dealings with us. If everything is going against us, then there is no way for God to be working for us or with us right? That’s just the way the world works. We’re either the lucky ones or we are just out of luck.

Wrong…

One of the most beautiful things about the Gospel is that its a story about God, his people, and his plan of restoration. The key word in this point is the word “Restoration.” God is actively restoring us to him. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t give me a picture of God working against us, more like God working for us. How can we read the bible and not see over and over again God actively…

Pursuing us…

Redeeming us…

Forgiving us…

Restoring us…

The Gospel is a beautiful story of how this creator created this world and its inhabitants and desired to be in connection with them. However, deception and doubt entered the picture and the creator lost his connection from his creation. Since that moment, the creator has been actively restoring his creation back to him. The Gospel isn’t a story of God working against us, it’s a story of God working for us in ways we couldn’t begin to imagine or think of. And the crazy thing is that it doesn’t stop there… there is more to the story of God’s inner workings.

Paul alludes to this in his letter to the Roman followers. He makes this claim that God is working all things for the “GOOD” of those who love God. So everything that happens in the life of those who love God is being worked for the “GOOD.” Let’s think about that for a second because there are some profound implications being made here. For those who love and desire to live a life in Jesus, all things in their life are being worked together for the “GOOD.” Not only are the good things being worked for good, but also the not so good things, the bad things, the ugly things, the “let’s not talk about it” things.

The broken marriage…

The bankrupted financials…

The disobedience child…

The medical mystery…

The loneliness issue…

ALL THINGS are being worked for our good and in the end we will come to see that God has been working for us and not against us. God desires to restore his creation back in connection with him and in order to do that, He is using everything in our lives to move us back in that direction. You see for example, God has this “30,000ft” view and can see all things and orchestrate all things where as we can only see what’s right in front of us and only take care of whats right in front of us. So why would we ever consider God working against us? What would make us think that?

Would it be all the bad things that have happened to us?

Would it be when things didn’t go our way?

Would it be when we felt so distance from our creator?

God is never against those who love him and call him Father. God is always for those whom trust, hope, and have faith in him. Paul continues in his letter that if God is for us, who can be against us? I think that’s the better question for us to ask when things are falling apart. Instead of questioning God’s plan and provision for us, why not asked who in their right mind would want to be against me with God on my side? God’s love for us creation extended beyond just creation, but all the way to the cross, into the grave, sealed in the tomb, only to rise again. That’s the unlimited, unconditional, never-ending, unfailing love of God right there on display.

His love is unending…

His grace is forever-reaching…

His work is always for you…

The Gospel is the story of God, his creation, and his work at restoring what’s rightfully his….

That’s you and me…

Because He is always with you and always working for you.

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