Good and Severe

“Safe? Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” — Mr. Beaver (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Ch. 8)

My life has changed so much in the last year. It seems God has led me into the “valley of the shadow of death.”

Today as I sat crying out to the Lord, longing for His salvation in my situation; longing for His right ways in my life, God renewed in me a desire to continue to speak out the encouragement He’s given me, and to not stop just because I’m surrounded by pain and rejection.

So here’s what I wanted to share:

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God… -Romans 11:22 NKJV

Goodness and severity. Two things that don’t seem to go together in my mind. But I find a strange fascination and comfort in believing that the Creator of the Universe, my Savior, and Lover of my soul is both good and severe.

I don’t appeal to just a “nice guy” when I desperately cry out to God in my messed up life. I appeal to the severe One who controls all things; who led me into the situation I’m in. For, “He guides me… even when I walk through the darkest valley.” (Psalm 23:4) And “{He} prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5)

I might not want God to be severe, but when facing desperate need, the only One who can really save me is the severe One who led me to that path of desperation in the first place.

If a judge lays down a heavy judgement against me, I might turn and plead to my nice neighbor until I’m blue in the face, but he isn’t the one who laid such a severe penalty on me. He might be nice, yet he can’t help me get out of the situation I find myself in. However, if I appeal to the severe judge, I appeal to the only one who can really do anything about my situation. And if out of His utter goodness He chooses to pay the judgement Himself, to take it away from me, I have been saved from that judgement indeed!

I’m glad God is good and severe. I need Him to be both. I fear His severity, yet I can’t complain against it because He’s so purely good. I know if ever He is severe with me, He’s doing it in total goodness and for my good. And if He is severe with me I also treasure His goodness all the more. I can appeal to the goodness of the only One who can do anything about my desperate life.

Psalm 130:

A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But [there is] forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul
[waits] for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning– [Yes, more than] those who watch for the morning. {Oh Sheila}, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD [there is] mercy, And with Him [is] abundant redemption. And He shall redeem {Sheila} From all {her}iniquities. (personal application added by me)

“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust [And] lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set [them] among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’s, And He has set the world upon them.” – 1 Samuel 2:6-8 NKJV

Oh LORD, only You have every right to be severe. Only You can truly do good without any false motives or selfishness. Only with You is there real salvation and forgiveness. Only with You is there real deliverance and life! I boldly run to You King of the Universe! Let Your goodness be known in my life!

Isaiah 51:3

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