Smoke from his Nostrils

In life we are often distracted from our faith by circumstances.  We have faith like Peter to walk out on the water but when we are distracted by the waves of divorce, broken hearts, fear, doubt, worry, stress, depression, anxiety, and low self esteem we doubt, our faith wanes, and we begin to sink.  When I look at the Bible for answers to the question of the existence of these distractions I often find myself in James 1:2-4
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I know that trials produce in me endurance.  And I know that everything in life happens according to God’s plan and that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)  But the question that struck me this week was that if we are talking about “ALL” things, then we are talking about good and bad things.  So… Good things work for good and bad things work for good as well.  If that’s the case, and good is always the effect of either cause, and if it’s true that we have a God who loves us, then why do the bad things happen so often?  Good is the outcome no matter what.  God receives glory no matter what.  So why does divorce affect our society the way it does?  Why are there high school girls who cut themselves?  Why are there Junior High guys trapped in the prison of pornography?  Why are there parents who don’t love their children?  Why is Phoenix one of the top sex trafficking cities in the nation? Why do so many people suffer from depression?  If God can get glory from anything then why does he use the bad things so often?
This question made me mad at God.
It all came full circle today.  In Psalm 18 David very poetically paints us this picture.
The cords of death envelop him.  The torrents of destruction assaulted him.  The snares of his own demise confronted him.  Put simply “Life sucked”.  The end was eminent and David’s enemies had surrounded him.  With nothing left but faith David cries out to God and the beast is unleashed.  The earth is rocked and it trembles in fear. The foundations of the mountains begin to palpitate and crumble as the Lord descends like an eruption to deal with David’s enemies.
Psalm 18:8 “Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth, glowing coals flamed forth from him.  He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.  Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
He delighted in me.
He delighted in me.
Wow.  The God of the universe shakes apart his creation and lays the earth bare because he delights in his children.
I don’t know if you’ve ever learned something that you already knew but I did today.  The power and majesty that is revealed in God’s wrath is utterly and completely beyond magnificent.  We often think of God’s wrath as contrary to, or separate from his love.  Here that is not at all the case.  God’s wrath is intimately linked with, and in fact, inseparable from His love.  The bad things in life give God the opportunity to showcase his majestic wrath.  God’s wrath is a very good thing and as much as it hurts I thank him for the pain in life that gives him license to descend from on high with smoke in his nostrils.
God is Good!

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