In my small group, we are going through an overview of the Bible. It has been quite eye opening to say the least. I really feel like we are all learning something new. I've often been intimidated by the Bible...I've felt like I wasn't smart enough to understand it...I didn't always know why it was important to know things like Noah and the Ark etc...and I didn't understand the words! (Partially because I grew up reading the King James Version). I've learned about it all my life and can recite verses here and there. But, its never come alive to me in this way before. I thirst for it...and it is so satisfying when I get to drink it up.
Okay, so sorry for the Christianese metaphors...what I really want to say is that God is faithful. Do you know this? Do you feel that he is faithful? Maybe not...but he still is. Why? How do I know? Because it is true of his character and he demonstrates it time and time again in his word.
As we're walking through scripture, I continue to ask myself, why did God want this in the Bible? What does he want me to know and understand? There's a man named Abraham (Genesis 12-25) who God asks to do some pretty hard things. He also tells him that he will bless him more than he can ever imagine. The guy is faithful...constantly obeying and praising God until he gets scared and tries to help God fulfill his plan. He takes a second wife, he lies, he worries, he doubts that God is who he says he is, he lacks faith constantly, he laughs at God, and the list goes on. Does this sound like you? Someone you know? God continues to remind Abraham that he WILL bless him greatly, and while he experiences consequences for his choices...God remains faithful. He takes what may have been meant for evil and uses it for his glory. He blesses the child born to the "other woman", he redeems the lies and walks him through the times of worry and doubt. He even gives Abraham the opportunity to petition God not to destroy a city where his family lived.
God continually reminds Abraham of who he is, and renews his faithfulness and covenant despite his decision-making. He does this because he ultimately had a heart that desired to please God. That's it...he was just trying! He acknowledges when he screws up, takes responsibility for his choices and then tries again...
This should be a comfort to you...because it means that you too can experience God in the same way. I'm pretty sure this is why God wanted these stories in scripture...so that we could see people like us doing amazing things through the power of God.
God's word is alive...it is applicable for all time. God doesn't expect perfection-in fact, he knows that we will screw up perhaps in a really big way-but his promises are true and he will redeem the screw up...all of them. He just wants your heart. He just wants you to try. He's there to help and guide you. He will ask you to give up everything and suffering will most definitely come because we live in a messed up world!...but he is FAITHFUL! Always...Do you see it? Or are you giving up on God because he's not doing what you think he should? Perhaps a change of perspective is what we need...to view our situation with the lens of who God is.