I’m Over Overthinking Relationships

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Relationships. “Can’t live with them and we can’t live without them.” Although sometimes I wish we could! If you’re anything like me, you’ve thought, worried, and stressed about relationships and dating…a lot. Probably more than you should. I’ve run through so many questions in my mind, I’ve given myself a headache.

“Should I keep going out with this person?” “Is this person ‘the one’ for me?” “Should I text them/or respond as much as I do?” “Should I end the relationship I’m in?” “Do I tell him my feelings…or wait for him to share his?” “Is this person really interested in me or just flirting with me?” “Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person?” “Am I attracted to him or attracted to the attention?” “Do I love him or love not being alone?” “Can I ever trust another person after being hurt by my last relationship?”

These are hard questions. I’ve thought every one and more.

It can be a maze to sort through my emotions. Because of this, I think through every possible scenario. Soon I get lost in the maze. Then I’m left feeling confused and frustrated. I’ve prayed so many times, “Jesus! Please just tell me what to do!” But so often, Jesus hasn’t given me direct answers. He lets me stumble and get burnt out until I realize I need to give these thoughts, stresses or situations to Him. In the meantime, what do you do with these agonizing thoughts or emotions while you still don’t have clear answers?

“…casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Yes, this verse is quoted so often but hear me out. The word “casting” struck me.

It brought to mind fisherman casting or throwing their nets into the water. Why did God inspire Peter to write casting? Why didn’t he say “Put all your cares…” or “Place all your cares”? I think it’s because God wants us to continually cast or throw our cares to Him. He doesn’t want us holding on to it and carrying it with us. Sounds easy enough…but is it really?

I’ve gotten burned out by overthinking. I truly believe God put “casting” so we would take our cares…the things that mean the most to our hearts…and constantly throw them on Jesus. It’s not a “one and done” type of thing. It’s continual.

So every time you’re overwhelmed thinking about a potential relationship, dating, relationships or being afraid to try again…don’t hold on to it. Cast it on Him. The stress or situation may pop in your mind 50 times a day…give it to Him all 50 times. God knows your heart, fears, desires, hurts and condition. He cares for you.

Searching for a Good Reason: The Problem of Evil Part 3

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In the last post in this series, I talked about why the existence of evil means that God allows evil to exist.

Since this is, understandably, a little difficult to deal with, theologians have created several theodicies, or explanations for why God allows evil in the world.

A soul-making process characterizes the first theodicy. According to the idea of soul-making, God desires that His children develop into increasingly moral beings. This results in “an immeasurably good state in which rational creatures are in the richest possible intimacy with their Creator.”

Proponents of a soul-making theodicy argue that natural and moral suffering create the perfect “moral training ground” for this process to occur. People can only grow into ethically upright beings by surmounting the moral challenges God places in their path. Just as hunger drives a person toward food, suffering guides a person toward a deeper connection with God. Thus, through the persistence of suffering, God achieves a greater level of communion with His creation, which He considers an ultimate good.

Another popular theodicy purposes evil as the ultimate backdrop for God’s righteousness. The apostle Paul declares, “But if our unrighteousness brings out the righteousness of God, what shall we say?” (Romans 3:5). Contextually, Paul is saying that Israel’s wickedness does not nullify God’s goodness toward them. Rather than dimming the character of God, Israel’s sin makes His righteousness even more radiant. Only by the contrast of evil does the purity of God abound. In more practical terms, a Christian would never realize the extent of God’s righteousness – not to mention their moral inadequacy – if not for evil. As Christian theologian John MacArthur acknowledges, “We would never understand the full glory of God’s righteousness if we were not so familiar with our own.”

How could we receive salvation if we could not measure our sinful deeds in light of a sinless God? Or how could God make known His goodness and mercy to an evil race if evil never existed? According to this theodicy, evil serves as the darkness that makes the flame of God’s goodness shine even brighter.

While the problem of evil may sometimes appear to bring about the collapse of Christian theism, there are numerous arguments that offer a sound response. However, multiple responses indicate that no individual theodicy or defense can truly withstand all queries raised concerning the problem of evil. Is there truly an answer to the “Achilles’ heel” of Christianity?

Maybe the answer is God himself. God is God. As Most High, He maintains the authority to do whatever He wants. “The Lord does what is good in his sight.” (2 Samuel 10:12). If the Lord does only what is good, who are we to question the means by which He brings it about?

We exist as finite beings, yet we are trying to comprehend the ultimate complexity of God’s divine will. If this were ever possible, human beings would ascend to the very supremacy of the Most High himself.