While reading Tyler Johnson’s book “How to Raise the Dead” a few months back, I hit upon a section where he talks about the goodness of God–and how when we are afraid of God, specifically afraid that God is going to harm us in any way, we lack understanding about God’s nature. Whether one cares to raise the dead or not, this passage struck a chord within me.
I recall quite clearly the first night I ever experienced gemstones appearing from heaven. Jewels were literally falling all around us–both appearing on the floor and falling from midair. At one point I lay on the ground and said “Hit me God,” expecting and hoping that gems would fall on me. As I lay there, fear began to creep in. I had seen some large stones–one of which was fist-sized, and began to get afraid that God would drop a large one on my groin, stomach, or face.
On some level we might think “that’s absurd–why would God do that?” but the fear was there nonetheless. When it did happen a minute later or so, they fell on my left shoulder instead, and I felt relieved. For whatever reason, that moment has stuck with me. How could I be so afraid that God was going to harm me like that? What made me believe that God would be so cruel? It was a stark juxtaposition if we consider that we were having jewels lavishly thrown at us, and here I was afraid that they would hit my family jewels instead.
That was years ago, but even to this day I struggle on some level with accepting God’s goodness, and I am pretty sure I’m not alone. For some reason, it is far easier to believe that God is cruel, mean, or unkind than it is to believe that he is first of all pure, peace-loving, considerate, and full of mercy (James 3:17). Something about our experiences with others–and often with our own fathers, has taught us that God can’t be trusted, can’t be kind, and will generally return our desires for his affection with anger. It’s sad, really. And consciously, I know it’s not true, but there remain places within me that struggle to accept what I understand is quite clearly God’s nature of pure love.
Even as I was reminded of this event, and the fear and trepidation I had associated with those moments, I found myself appreciative that God brought it to my memory. I truly believe that in order for us to gain a deeper revelation of God’s goodness, we need to be healed of the emotions and transform our beliefs that suggest His nature is contrary. When God reveals to us the areas of darkness within our hearts and minds, it isn’t to create shame or show us how unworthy we are–God already knows we struggle with value and identity and sin and shame. He isn’t interested in pointing out our flaws for any reason other than to make us pure and to set us free.
I believe that a revelation of God’s goodness is important pertaining to resurrection of the dead, but it hits on every aspect of our lives–how we deal with conflict, lack, troubling circumstances, death, anger, fear, rejection, anxiety, hopelessness, depression, and every other problem or emotion that exists. I believe that God’s goodness is a foundational truth that God, in His great love and mercy, is restoring to the Church so that we as the Body can live the abundant, overcoming life He has promised us again and again. I highly recommend Tyler’s book, as I believe it presents one of the clearest and most complete perspectives on God’s goodness, but whether you read the book or not, I encourage each and every reader to look at your own beliefs about God. Do you feel the Father treats you like Jesus? Every area where you feel God the Father treats you differently than Jesus would is an invitation to pray that God reveals His heart and heals hurt places deep inside and to help us turn toward truth, grace, and love.
I believe God is preparing us as the Body to walk in unprecedented levels of signs, wonders, and miracles, and it all begins with a renewed mind so that we can walk in our identity as the much-loved sons and daughters of the King–the beloved with whom He is well pleased. Go in peace.