For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Did you ever think God was out to get you? At some time or another in our lives, most of us have felt that way. If you have ever had that feeling, let me offer an explanation that might explain what the Lord was trying to do for you.
My explanation begins a number of years ago when I was called to an emergency visit to one of my congregation's families. When I knocked, no one came to the door. There was just a shout: "Come in!" I did and was greeted by a horrible sight.
A mother was holding her child while the father was slapping the little girl's face. Not so hard as to leave any bruises, but hard enough: hard enough that I winced, hard enough that I was glad it wasn't me getting slapped. Along with the slapping, they kept shouting at their little girl and every once in a while, they gave her a painful pinch.
Even though I knew the family, I thought so.
It wasn't. The little girl had swallowed some pills -- too many pills. "Until the ambulance arrives," the parents had been told, "keep her awake. Do whatever is necessary to keep her awake." The picture of parental abuse was immediately transformed to an exhibition of love.
Not to hurt, but to help, was the motivation of father and mother. Helping is God's motivation too.
That means, when you feel a pinch or a prod given by God, you can be absolutely certain of one thing: you can be sure the Lord doesn't hate you. On the contrary, He who sent His Son to live and die to obtain your salvation is not going to do anything to counteract Jesus' life, death and resurrection of love.
No, God doesn't hate you. On the contrary, He is probably trying to wake you up or get your attention. Yes, He knows what is happening may hurt; He knows His correcting hand is probably unwelcome. Indeed, He wouldn't apply His correction if He wasn't absolutely sure the benefits could outweigh the pains and problems. He wants you to see you can't get along by yourself.
You're not smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, or holy enough to get to heaven on your own. Even if you don't know it, God is fully aware of how much you need Him.
To get you to rely on Him is why He allows certain adversities to come your way. The Lord wants us to throw up our helpless hands and reach out for His. He wants you to come to Him, because you've got nowhere else to go.
It is then, when our strength is exhausted and we are at our wits' end, He can do His greatest work. It is then He can show us how His Son has redeemed and restored us. It is then He can give us the joy, the peace, the hope, the happiness, the future that comes from having a living connection with Jesus.
Believe it. Trust it. If you are hurting, now is the day: now is the time to begin trusting the Lord who loves you enough to send His Son to change your future, your life, your hope.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for doubting Your intentions toward me and my welfare. Grant me grace to see Your will is right. Then, with opened eyes, may I be able to sincerely pray, "Thy will be done." In the Name of my Savior, I ask it. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries