From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 3 – God’s character – who He is and what He is like
At the same time He knows you personally. He knows everything that you have ever done, and every thought you have ever had. He knows your needs and what is best for you. There have been times where I have been astonished at how much God cares for me as an individual. He finds time, amongst everything else He has to think about, to consider all the little things that I need.
For example, when I was a student I was working one summer as a gardener. I had no car at the time and used to walk a few miles each day to my customers. One day I was intending to go knocking on doors to ask if people wanted any gardening work doing. I set off in the morning and realised, after walking about two miles, that I had forgotten to bring a pen. That bothered me, because I needed one to write down phone numbers etc. As I was thinking over this little problem, I prayed and asked God to help me to sort it out. Then, to my amazement, I walked on just 10 yards or so and I found, lying on the pavement, a biro pen that someone had dropped! It was just a cheap one, but it solved my problem.
You may say that finding that pen was just a coincidence. But I knew immediately that God had been concerned for my little problem and wanted to help me. He treated me as a parent might treat a small child. He saw my need and He met it and looked after me. Isn’t that how we are with our own children? What’s more, I felt God was chuckling about it. The incident amused Him and I felt He was laughing to Himself with anticipation as he watched me find the pen, saying “Was that answer quick enough for you?” That is exactly how God can be at times, when you get to know Him, but not before.
That, therefore, is the amazing God that we are privileged to serve and worship. He is Almighty and is a King and a Judge, but He is also a Father and a friend. He cares about us and looks after even the most trivial details of our lives. If you choose to believe in Him and to follow Him, then He will not disappoint you. He has never, ever, let me down, in my whole life. He has never been faithless or unreliable. Can you say that of any friend, or even of your own parents?
Therefore, I will try to present God to you in this book in an accurate way, telling you honestly about His judgment and His severity. However, I do not want you to misunderstand Him by failing to remember as well all the other aspects of His nature, such as His love, grace and mercy. We need to hold them all in balance at the same time.
Perhaps above all we need to realise that God takes no pleasure from judging or punishing any of us. His holy nature means that He has to do it or He would not be true to Himself. However, He actually wants all of us to avoid His judgment by turning to Him in faith and repentance:
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”Ezekiel 18:32 (NASB)
10“Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?”‘ 11“Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’Ezekiel 33:10-11 (NASB)
We are now going to embark upon several serious and worrying chapters. As I do that, please continue to bear in mind the fuller picture of God’s character that I have begun to describe in this chapter. We shall expand upon all of that once we get past chapter nine.