As long as I believe God’s goal for my life should be painless, smooth, validation and happy endings, I will live in a cognitive dissonance, which will eventually cause me to pull back and protect myself. We can slip into the dangerous thinking that if he’s good and powerful, our lives should be smoother and less messy than others. Bad guys should lose more often. Good guys should most often win. Sometimes it works that way. Often it does not. Not yet.


The God who is, allows through some of the pain a fallen world reveals. Its what he does with the pain, and bad endings, which ultimately proves who he is. If he is able to take all of the evil, dark and weird and twisted mess that hits us and is somehow able to turn it all into our good, that would be something very incredible indeed. For all the accusation that he has promised too much, this is exactly what he says he is doing. “I will cause all things to work together for good...” for the likes of us.


God says, “You might try to let me off the hook by reasoning I’m not fully in control of your world. That might maintain some measure of your affection for me: like a grandfather who loves you but can’t always remember your name. But this lie would ultimately ruin our relationship. I am fully in control of your world. Nothing happens, doesn’t happen, is withheld, allowed, caused, refused, delayed, or stopped without me seeing it, allowing it or refashioning it. I never say ‘Oops.’ I never say, ‘Dang, that one got by me! I’ll try to make it up to you.’”


“I am in control of your life. And I love you more than you love you. My character cannot and will not do wrong. I take whatever your race has brought on through your choice in the garden, and I redeem, refashion and rework it all into beauty beyond anything you could have possibly imagined. All things. Horrible things. Evil things. Chronic things. I decide what is allowed through and what it will accomplish. I decide what needs to be refashioned. But mostly I stand in the arena, when you cannot stand; defending you and protecting you. I do not lecture. I do not mock. I do not give sermons. What I do is love you: no matter how angry you are at me, no matter what you imagine in your heart about me. What I do is enter into your pain deeper than even you can. This I can do. This I will always do. Until we are Home together in the land where tears cease.”