Time to get real. This world we know is a flaming dumpster nuke fire of injustice, disease, and pain that, if we saw the true extent thereof, we’d look away in burning scorn, searing tears, and stinging heartache. You think your individual life is a mess? Consider the billions alive today suffering in some way or degree, whether from loneliness or hunger or persecution or threat of bloody death. Consider the trillions who have lived or will live throughout history, including those whose lives ended before they could ever leave the womb. The stillborn, the miscarried, the aborted. All that pain you and I will never know. We will only know our own personal pain.
But still… God felt and feels and will feel it all.
“Don’t you tell me He can’t do it.”
I’m listening to this song by Cody Carnes and Brandon Lake called “Too Good to Not to Believe”. The singers exult God and his wonder-working power. Part of the lyrics go:
“I’ve lived stories that have proved Your faithfulness. I’ve seen miracles my mind can’t comprehend.”
But where are these stories, these miracles? On this crushed planet of quashed people, how can even one life be raised from the dead? Does God even care? Did God create the world only to retreat to Heaven like the deists believe? Is God impersonal, wrathful, and vindictive like the allah of the Muslims? Is there even a God, or is there a pantheon—“all the gods”—from the obvious like Ba’al to Asherah to the more obscure and esoteric like Chaos and Ouranus of the Greeks or the primordial kami of Shinto? Is all existence divine? Or is there nothing at all outside cold reality, like the materialists and nihilists so edgily embrace.
No. I contend those are all just mythical stories: legends derived from either half-truths or full-nonsense. Or a fanciful, deceitful, and prideful mix of both… anything to not believe God. But where are the miracles and stories that prove Him?
The song continues: “You’re the wonder-working God. And You heal because you love. Oh the miracles we’ll see. You’re too good to not believe.”
I contend that aside from the miracles and power of God recorded in the biblical works, our lives are the miracles and wonders God works. Too much of God’s power is hidden from view by the veil called shame. We are ashamed of our past, ashamed of our present struggles—despite the progress we’ve made down the straight paths—, ashamed of what our fellow man will believe about us.
But what about what our fellow man will believe about God? How will your neighbor know God is Too Good to Not Believe?
“I’ve seen real life resurrection, I’ve seen mental health restored. Don’t you tell me He can’t do it! Don’t you tell me He can’t do it!”
“I’ve seen families reunited, I’ve seen prodigals return. Don’t you tell me He can’t do it! Don’t you tell me He can’t do it!”
“I’ve seen troubled souls delivered, I’ve seen addicts finally free. Don’t you tell me He can’t do it! Don’t you tell me He can’t do it!”
The lyrics I’ve highlighted are examples of things we struggle with—I struggle with—that shame us so much we can’t even share the existence of with a fellow and trusted Christian brother, much less anyone of the world. How many people could I feel safe telling if I struggled with heroin, porn, gambling, or that I struggle with homosexuality? It’s so much easier to praise God publicly for an obvious miracle like a resurrection or cancer cure. But to talk about God freeing me from same-sex attraction? Such a thing would be shameful to proclaim! The Christians around you would shun you for what they imagine is your disgusting and shady past. The non-believers would hate you for daring to slay their queen narrative—an unchangeable narrative of pride. Because pride is the opposite of shame, right?
God’s stories of rescue in our lives should be shouted from rooftops despite the shame it may stir within us. Because having pride is not the solution to the shame: humility is the answer. Humility says to me, “Proclaim God has set you free from homosexuality.” The wonder-working power that contradicts the world’s expectations should be made public despite the pain. Pride and shame are but the two sides of the world’s currency, the currency that keeps this world dealing in the business of suffering, injustice, and separation. Pride keeps us from searching for solutions for this broken world. Shame keeps us from asking for help. But they both also keep us from sharing the good news of His rescues that do happen. And God has rescued me, and you, and us, and them, and everyone who believes. He is Too Good to Not Believe!
On the Cross, Jesus took upon his beaten body the weight of the planet, sins of the distant past and far future. Sins of his disciples and own family, sins of those who betrayed him and scorned him, and sins of those who never knew or met him. And not just the sins, but the injustices. And the diseases. And the pain. And the mental disorders. And, by his resurrection from among the dead, he finally took our deaths and freed us from that skeletal grip of fear.
You see, we will only ever know our own personal pain. But He feels, felt, and will feel it all. He is, was, and will be that good to us. Can we not overcome our own shame and share our stories of his salvation and rescue of our lives, bodies, and minds?
Who cares if you were bipolar once? Schizophrenic? Dying from cirrhosis? Used to be gay? God cared already and he is willing to heal and deliver. And if he has healed and delivered you, it is no longer a shame but a story of God’s might and, possibly more importantly, His Love for us. This gives our dying planet hope that, as Paul wrote:
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)”
Romans 8:18-25 NLT
And as the song says:
“Don’t you tell me He can’t do it! Don’t you tell me He can’t do it!”
Because he has already done it. He has done it in me! He can do it in you.