THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Does God ever feel discouraged with us?
By Lesley Mitchell
Given all the evil, wickedness and suffering on this planet, one could be forgiven for thinking the extent of human sin might make God feel discouraged, even grieved. After all, God has done so much to rescue humans from the consequences of their sin, and yet the majority of people appear to be utterly godless. Man's inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds, and millions of people have to endure poverty, hardship and even death because of the depraved conduct of the few. I know it gets me down, and I feel discouraged, even though I am a Christian with the utmost faith in God and in Christ Jesus.
But does God experience the same emotions as humans? Does God feel discouraged at what's going on? Well, we must remember that although we are created in God's image that does not mean to say that God is subject to human emotions. The image of God refers to the immaterial part of man. It sets man apart from the animal world, fits him for the dominion God intended him to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables him to commune with his Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.
God reveals himself to us through his Word, the Bible. For example, God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning and His existence will never end. He is immortal and infinite (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). God is immutable, meaning He is unchanging; this in turn means that God is absolutely reliable and trustworthy (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:26, 27). God is incomparable; there is no one like Him in works or being. He is unequaled and perfect (2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25; Matthew 5:48). God is inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable, and past finding out as far as understanding Him completely (Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33, 34). God is just; He is no respecter of persons in the sense of showing favoritism (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:30). God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful and can do anything that pleases Him, but His actions will always be in accord with the rest of His character (Revelation 19:6; Jeremiah 32:17, 27). God is omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere, but this does not mean that God is everything (Psalm 139:7-13; Jeremiah 23:23). God is omniscient, meaning He knows the past, present, and future, including what we are thinking at any given moment. Since He knows everything, His justice will always be administered fairly (Psalm 139:1-5; Proverbs 5:21). His names also tell us something about his character.
The most important aspect of God's character is his holiness. God is separated from all moral defilement and hostile toward it. God sees all evil and it angers Him. God is referred to as a consuming fire (Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 1:13; Exodus 3:2, 4-5; Hebrews 12:29). God is gracious, and His grace includes His goodness, kindness, mercy, and love. If it were not for God`s grace, His holiness would exclude us from His presence. Thankfully, this is not the case, for He desires to know each of us personally (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 31:19; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:16, 17:3).
Because God is omnipotent and sovereign, because he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, God knows the final outcome. God knows who belong to him and whose names are written in the book of life. God therefore does not succumb to weak human emotions and feel discouraged when things appear to go wrong. His eternal plan of salvation will not be thwarted and we can have supreme confidence that God's kingdom shall come and God's will shall be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. God may feel righteous indignation and anger against the evildoers in our world, but he is in control, and is not hampered by human weakness or emotions. Indeed, Jesus said there is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7). We, too, should be encouraged to realise that the victory has been secured and "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38–39).
Image Credit: Kersley Fitzgerald; detail Shove Chapel
Tags: Biblical-Truth | God-Father
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