What is God like? And why should I care?
Whether you are a committed Christian, or someone exploring faith, these are questions that everyone has asked or will ask at some point in life. As a Church asked what we believe about God, we answer by saying that God is the creator and ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; all co-equal and one God (Genesis 1:1, 26,27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
But what is God like when we relate to Him? What are His traits? How does anything about God relate to our daily lives?
These are all questions that our 8-week blog series, “What is God like? And why should I care?” will answer. We’ll be looking at what the Bible says about our need for God, how God helps us, how God is the true love that we are all looking for, experiencing peace & joy through God, how God heals us, learning to trust God, seeing God in every circumstance, God’s role in our lives, and more!
Grab your journal (or use ours!) and let’s jump in.
Where Is God When I Need Him?
At the end of World War II an American sub came into Newport News, Virginia to dock. As it came into port something went wrong and it began to sink in the harbor. They immediately dispatched the Coast Guard to go out and try to save the crew. They sent divers down to the submarine to save the crew. As the divers swam around the sub you could hear that a sailor had a hammer and was knocking on the hull from the inside in Morse code, “Is there hope?”
Is there hope? That’s one of the fundamental questions of life. Is there hope? It’s asked everyday by thousands of people in different situations.
- When you’re setting in the doctor’s office waiting for test results, you wonder… “Is there hope?”
- When you’re standing by the bedside at the hospital, you wonder… “Is there hope?”
- When a couple has been struggling in their marriage, and they’re thinking… “Is there hope?”
- When parents are struggling with their kids staying on track, and they think… “Is there hope?”
- When you suffer the loss of a relationship or a job or a loved one, and you think… “Is there hope?”
You can go forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air. But how long can you go without hope? Hope is one of the essentials of life.
The Bible tells us that hope is found in God; that He is the source of hope that not only sustains us in hard times, but actually brings us life to the fullest!
Romans 15:13 “May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in Him. Then you’ll overflow with hope…”
Psalm 52:9 “In Your name I will hope, for Your name is good.”
At the end of the book of Ezekiel, God says, “I am Jehovah Shammah.” In Hebrew that means, “I am the God who is always there!”
Hope from God has profound implications on life. There are many things in life that can’t be counted on; many that are uncertain. But there are two things that you can absolutely count on; two things that are certain. These are two anchors of the soul; two things to count on no matter what happens in life.
1. He Is Watching Over Me
Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you. I will support you…”
Regardless of what happens, we don’t have to go through it alone. God will be with us. God will give us hope.
Psalm 32:8 “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
We don’t know the future. We can’t control some aspects of our lives, and most often those are the things that we so desperately want to be in control of. God, the creator of the universe, holds it all together, and can guide and advise us; he’ll show us the way.
For many of us, when we can’t figure out why something is happening, we experience hopelessness. If we can figure out why we’re having a problem, if we can figure out what the upside is, there’s a little more hope. But when we can’t figure it out at all, we feel totally hopeless. One of the great things that brings hope is realizing we don’t have to figure it all out. We have to trust God who has it all figured out. He knows and understands, and He’s willing to guide and advise us through life.
Lamentations 3:21-23 “I have hope when I think of this: The Lord’s love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning.”
2. He Is Working In Me
When you have a problem that you don’t understand, that’s very difficult to handle. Some of the most difficult kinds of questions in life are, “Why is this happening to me?” When the problem is there and it doesn’t have any rhyme or reason to it. It just doesn’t make sense. Those are the kind of situations that are the hardest to handle.
On the other hand, when you see a purpose behind your problem it gives you enormous hope. It also gives you enormous power to endure it.
Even though we can’t always identify the purpose behind our pain or circumstances, we can count on the fact that God has the power to work amazing things in our lives amidst even the most dire circumstances. Even when we can’t identify the purpose, our God has the purpose in his grasp, even when we don’t feel it or when it doesn’t make sense.
Romans 8:28 “We know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
It doesn’t say, “All things work out the way I want them to.” We would like that and we’d like to interpret it that way but that’s not what it says.
It doesn’t say, “All things have a happy ending on earth.” That’s not true. Not all things have a happy ending on earth.
- Not every patient gets well.
- Not every couple lives happily ever after.
- Not every business decision makes tons of money.
- Not every problem is resolved.
What does it say?
“We know that God causes all things to work together for good.” We don’t wish, we don’t imagine. It is certain. We are confident of whatever comes after this.
“We know that God causes all things to work together for good.” He is the master designer of the universe and has control over all things. He brought salvation, our hope and confidence, out of the death of His son Jesus! Of course our sovereign creator God can cause all things to work together for good.
“We know that God causes all things to work together for good.” What does that include? Does that include illness? Yes. Does that include unemployment? Yes. Does that include failure? Does it include freak accidents? Does it include the stupid decisions that I make and the consequences I bring upon myself? Yes!
When you understand that God is not only watching over you but that He’s working in you to create good—that changes your perspective on life.
Notice the qualifier in Romans 8:28. It says “for those who love God…” All things do not work together for good for everybody. In fact, if you are thumbing your nose to God, walking out the back door and saying, “Forget You, God!” all things are not working for good in your life. This is a promise for those who love God and want to have a relationship with Him and who are trying to live according to His purpose.
Are you facing an impossible situation today? Is hopelessness weighing heavy on you?
Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.”You may think that what’s happening in your life right now is painful and to no avail but God says, “My plan is good. You need to trust Me.”
Our God is the God of hope. He is the God of strength and he will do anything to bring that into your life. But you have to accept it.
1 Peter 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…”
1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.