The Battle With God (From Chapter 1)

This week I am posting several excerpts from my new book The Battle With God (available on Amazon.com in ebook and paperback). This comes from Chapter 1: Our Battle With The Revelation of God

“I know God made me get sick,” Sheila told her Grandmother Gina one night. “I know He did because I left Christianity for another faith.”
Weeks earlier, an unknown virus invaded Sheila’s body and left her close to death for two days. Believing she only had hours to live, doctors told the family to gather. When I arrived at the hospital to be with the family, I was not even sure Sheila would be alive. Doctors tried a variety of medications, but nothing changed her condition. The two days were a blur of monitoring, testing, and questioning. Then, as quickly as it had come, the virus lost its power and she recovered. She left the hospital three days later. Doctors never understood why she nearly died or how she recovered.
As she sat with her grandmother, trying to make sense of what had happened, and what all of this meant in light of her relationship with God, she concluded He was up to something.
“Oh Sheila,” Grandma Gina replied. “Don’t say that. God isn’t like that. He doesn’t do that.”
When her grandmother told me about their conversation, I asked Gina why she told her granddaughter God didn’t do that. I mentioned the God of Scripture often did that. God got Jonah’s attention through a storm and a big fish. God got Israel’s attention in the desert with fiery serpents. God got the early church’s attention with the deaths of Annanias and Saphirra. Why can’t God get a young lady’s attention with a sickness that brought her close to death? In the 39th Psalm, didn’t David acknowledge God’s discipline when he said, “Because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing” and “You consume as a moth what is precious to [a man]”?

As I reflected on how Sheila and Gina interpreted God’s hand in Sheila’s sickness, I wondered what misconceptions might be present in my understanding of God. What do I think God would never do? What do I think He should do? Does my understanding reflect the God revealed in Scripture, or some god of my own design? How much of my understanding of God is from Scripture and how much is self-made, or even church-made, fiction?

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