Will God reject us forever?

 Photo by  Edwin Andrade

Photo by Edwin Andrade

Will the Lord reject us forever?
Will he never show his favour again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
— Psalm 77:7-9

These words accurately sum up how I often feel when I hear stories of the world gone wrong. Why does it seem like everything is getting worse, never better?

What do we do when we’re overwhelmed with the pain, injustice and horror around us?

I understand on a broad scale why the world is as terrible as it is.

God didn't create evil, but he did give the first humans the ability to choose between right and wrong. And now, the more humankind sins, the more we tear ourselves away from God and rip apart the very fabric of the world he intended.

You can read my post on the gospel for a clearer explanation of how this happened.

But regardless of whether or not you believe the gospel story, we're still faced with the question: why doesn't God do something? How can a loving God let such shitty stuff happen?

I know that these are real questions that most of us—whether or not we believe in God—have dealt with at one time or another. I don't want to brush that aside. 

I also have quite a few thoughts on this topic. However, I'm not going to address them in this piece because I want to make sure my views are fully shaped by Scripture first. I don't want to toss out a pat answer or something that may very well be off-base.

I promise I'll come back to the question of God and evil at some point, but for today, I want to stick with noting how one psalmist in Scripture responded to not knowing where God was amid the distress of his situation.

His answer was simply to trust that because God had been good and faithful in the past, he would continue to be so in the future.

This is so completely opposite to how I see a lot of Christians (myself included) react. Often, we make excuses for God when we’re confused or hurt by his supposed inaction.

But what if we stopped trying to justify what we think God is or isn’t doing and instead proclaimed the powerful things that have already been recorded?

Let’s look back in time. Scripture is full of stories of God’s incredible power—miraculous victories in battle, incredible healings and food falling from the sky to feed a nation in the desert.

No matter how hopeless things might appear in our tiny snapshot of space and time, the Lord is unchanging. These stories are here to remind us how mighty God is.

When our faith dwindles and doubt creates uncertainty in our minds, our job is to remember.

God created everything we see and has been invested in the story of humanity long before you and I showed up. That same God will see his plans through to completion.

The way the Father interacts with his people has changed throughout history, but that does not mean his power has lessened. So when we don’t have eyes to recognize him at work, we can look back in time to replenish our hope.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
—  Psalm 77:11-12

Psalm 78:9-20 goes on to explain how the Israelites faltered and did not trust God because they forgot what he had done for them in the past. We too, turn back in fear when we lose sight of his great power.

But if we truly believe God can split an entire sea in half and multiply a few loaves and fish into a feast for over 5,000 people, that shapes our understanding of what he is capable of today.

This way, we’re grounded in the bigger picture of what God has done throughout history, instead of boxing him into our limited view of this present time.

Our faith in his abilities becomes rooted in his true power and might, rather than in our own fear.

Of course, none of this means anything if you don't believe in the gospel story. Only then can you truly take courage and comfort in knowing that, even while we don't deserve it, we have a way to escape judgement through Christ's death on the cross.

So will God reject us forever?

Absolutely not.

Christ has promised that he will come again (Matthew 24:30-31). No matter how terrible things might be right now, God's ultimate plan is to establish justice and create a new, perfect order to the world we keep screwing up.