God's pain

Most people probably think of God as a pretty happy guy. After all, not everyone is blessed with the attributes of eternity, omnipresence (can be everywhere at the same time), and generally power over the whole universe that He created, so why shouldn't He be happy?

I’ll tell you why. Because He is filled with pain. Not just pain from all of the evil that is destroying the world, but because I believe He knows the future of each individual, whether he or she is saved or not. And so the pain He feels comes from knowing the awful fate someone will face if they die in their unbelief. He knows the eternal suffering that is in store for many of the people on our planet, and He weeps for them...He grieves for them...He pleads with them...and He died for them. The amount of pain that one person would feel in hell, God feels it multiplied by every single lost person on this earth.

God is not just going to lie down and cry for those lost, however...just like a parent who is in the supermarket and suddenly realizes their child is not at their side, God has dropped everything else and is searching for you, his lost child. If you've been found by Him and are trying to help people see that God is seeking them, awesome. Keep it up. But if God hasn't taken hold of you in His arms and rejoiced in finding you at long last, then realize this: God feels your pain, because He made you and loves you even now.

God is searching for you, but in this case, He can't use His divine power to spot-light every lost person in this world to find them. If He did, would that be giving them a choice, or would that just be forcing His godliness on them and turning them into people who follow God because they aren't able to choose anything else? Instead, God searches for you knowing that you might be hiding from Him, or running away from Him. Why do you hide? Why do you flee? Our God who made us cares for us, and weeps with a broken heart for us until He finds us.

His love can save us, and He longs to save everyone. The word that Christians like to throw around, "salvation", is really what God's all about: saving people, just like a shepherd saves sheep. His pain and sorrow can only be replaced with true, pure joy when every lost sheep has been found and rescued from danger.

I’m going to close this thought with a couple sentences from a book called John. If you've ever gone to Sunday school, you probably have heard it before, but only the first part: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again."

This next part is not as easy to hear, so only read it if you're ready for it: "Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is." (from The Message adaptation of John 3:16-21)

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Author's note: I actually wrote this a few months ago on Facebook, so this might seem familiar to a few of you.

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