If I asked you what the most important thing in relating to someone was, what would you say? Common ground, communication, love, a sense of humor? The reality is, without honesty, true relationship cannot exist. At the very point that “what I think” and “what I say I think” differ, you can only relate to a fake version of me … even if the fake me is just the real me, slightly twisted. True relationship is suddenly off the table.
I recently heard someone say, “The only acceptable way to approach God is honestly.” And, “The only inappropriate way to approach God is dishonestly.” Unless we approach Him devoid of facade and pretense, relationship is futile.
It’s the same way in our conversations with others about God or even about His Gospel. As you walk with God and live life, you’ll have opportunities to talk about this most important of relationships. In a world of pressure to convince and desire to not screw something up, talking about God is a daunting task. Though, in a world of honest relating, the words flow as easily as if you were telling a story. The Gospel is a story, the story of God’s love and desire for relationship with us, best told through the eyes of your experience.
If I’m honest about this most important of relationships, I have to confess that there are things about God that I don’t get, things that confuse me or even anger me. Things like, “If God is in control, why would He let a tragedy as great as the tsunami happen?” There is a defense for why such horrible things happen, of course, but if I’m honest with myself (and with you), I have to say that apologetics rings empty for me in the face of all that death and destruction.
One thing we know is that God did not intend for the world to be this way. Eden was perfect. Not just in its lack of sin, but in its creation as well. I mean it didn’t even rain there. It didn’t need to. With Adam and Eve’s first betrayal of God, nature itself became broken. In some way all of the bad things in our world, from natural disasters to cancer to lust, all spring from our brokenness and the brokenness of this place. It makes me long for restoration, and I believe that’s what God wants to do. God brings good out of everything (Genesis 50:20). I’ve found that, even in my sin, God brings good about by showing me my helplessness. It’s maybe the same way with natural disaster. We are, as a world, helpless to the evil and brokenness that have engulfed us. But we have an eternal help and hope in God and the saving work of Jesus Christ.
These are the things I would begin to say if asked how such tragedy could fit in with something as hopeful as the Gospel. I would say those things because those are the things I know to be true, the ways in which God has let me halfway understand.
You might be tempted to brush such tough questions to the side, or to prove you’re right at the expense of the honest thoughts floating through your head. Don’t be. An honest “I don’t know” is sometimes a part of letting someone experience your actual relationship with Jesus. The one that they can actually relate to.