Seeing God as Loving

In a culture filled with tragedy and pain, it can be difficult to view God as loving. Angie Smith dives into her personal experiences and the truth she's discovered through her pain.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. Have you ever felt the way Angie did when she was growing up—like an outsider being judged by a set of standards you could never meet?
  2. What sometimes makes it hard to go "all the way back to the beginning" and remember that God is love?

I'm one of those that sort of had a story of growing up in an environment where a lot of the Christians that I was around weren't really acting the way that Christians should. And a lot of the time, I felt judged and I felt like I was an outsider and I felt like the Bible was this huge book of rules and tissue-thin paper and all these standards that I would never meet. I didn't become a Christian until I was an adult and so a lot of times, I would hear people talking about all of these words that I didn't understand and this kind of Christian-ese, as I'd call it, and I didn't know the words. And, and so I felt like an outsider. I just felt totally ill-equipped to ever understand the Gospel, and the parts of it that I did understand felt like an angry preacher pounding on a pulpit and telling me that I had to repent and that I was bad. And then all the while, I'm turning on the news and I'm seeing everything that's happening around the world and I'm thinking, how could I ever get to a place where I would say God is good? And what I have kind of come to, to rest in is that I think there's a lot of truth and understanding, what we need to repent for and understanding who we are before God but mostly what it means is we go all the way back to the beginning and we start where we're supposed to, which is that God is love, and every single thing that comes from God, no matter what it looks like on the news, comes from love. And it's changed the lens that I look through. I think God just finally said to me, "Angie, you're too close to understand it right now." I've walked through a lot of tragedy in my own life, some of the most difficult things a person can can ever go through, and in those moments where I felt like I was pounding my fist and devastated and doubting, God just gave me an assurance that he really was working all things for good, and that while I'm not going to understand it here, I really do rest in having full faith that I trust the character of God, and that God is love, and even the parts that look messy here are going to be redeemed. I might not get to see them, and I hate that. I would love to, I would love to understand why I've had to be wounded in some of the ways that I have, but even on days when I don't feel the redemption, he reminds me that it's coming.