I have often referred to the scripture passage Matthew 5:45b, "the rain falls on the just and the unjust". I have always taken it to mean that "bad things" happen to believers and unbelievers alike. God is no respecter of persons. Recently, however, the Lord showed me that rain is not necessarily a "bad thing". Think about planting a garden. You can take all the necessary steps, but if it never gets any rain it simply won't grow. In fact, it will die. Rain is a necessity of life. I began to reverse my thinking, and started seeing the rain as a good thing. In doing so I was given an even greater understanding of my Father's love. James 1:17 says that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning".
Jeremiah, King David, Job, and even we have asked, "why do the wicked prosper and the heathen rage"? One thing I have learned is that God does not allow us to use our behavior to manipulate Him. As believers we do have standards and principles that we are to attain to, but by thinking that our "bad behavior" provokes his punishment, and our "good behavior" causes him to favor us is simply not true. In fact, it is prideful to think that we would have that much power. When we think this way we are putting ourselves in God's place. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
In recent months the Lord has been opening my understanding of his love, for me, and for others. I was always told that Jesus loves me and I bought that truth, but I never really understood it. Therefore, I would sell that truth when life's circumstances hit too hard, and because of it I believed that my Heavenly Father was displeased or even angry with me. What a deception. What a lie!
If you are a parent you know that when your child does something wrong you do not simply disown them. You continue to love that child. You continue to work with him, teaching him a better way. You don't throw him away. You don't shun him. And so it is with our Heavenly Parent, God our Father. If we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father in heaven give good gifts to us?! (Matthew 7:11)
I heard of a story of a man who believed the Lord told him to visit a specific mental institution and minister to the patients. But he soon discovered that every patient there was totally and undeniably unreachable. At first the man was bewildered. Why would God tell him this? These patients aren't even aware of his presence in the room. Then he got an idea. He sat on the floor in the middle of the room full of patients and began singing "Jesus Loves Me This I Know". He sang it over and over. For hours he sang until a patient came and sat beside him and began to sing. Day after day he returned to repeat the process. He sang for hours each day. Over a period of time, one by one, every patient joined him on the floor to sing. Eventually, a large percentage of the patients were healed of their mental disability and released, believing that Jesus really did love them!
Now we know that there is faith, hope and love and when all else fails, love remains.
I thank my Heavenly Father for opening my understanding of his great love for me and for the world. It has changed my life.