Wednesday, August 11

How my thesis paper is changing me...

I've shared before that I am working on my Master's degree (and almost done, thank you very much!) and part of my degree requires me to write a thesis paper.

My chosen topic is on Suffering: What does the Bible say, how does it impact missions and the Church? (that's not the exact title...still working on that...any suggestions???)

In studying the Bible and in reading books for research, I'm finding my mind and understanding of sin and suffering is being changed, which has great implications!

I've always said that suffering and pain and sin were not part of God's plan...He did not create us that way and that it was merely a consequence of our choice and because of that choice, God had to provide a Savior. What is wrong with this thought is that it makes Christ a "plan B" or after-thought.

Now, I'm coming to think that God created us, fully knowing and ordaining us to sin, so that He could reveal His glory through the abundance of His grace through Christ's perfect life and undeserving death. Our sinning was part of the plan so that God could show us the part of Himself that wouldn't be seen or understood against a perfect non-sinful backdrop!

One book I read said something to the effect that you can't seen the brightness of the stars unless it is against the backdrop of the darkest night. You can't see God's grace unless there is someone or something in need of grace. You can't see God's redemption unless someone or something needs to be redeemed.

This mind shift is huge! Honestly, my mind feels full and a bit boggled as I try to wrap my understanding around this and all that it means. In the multitude of years that I have attended Sunday school, heard sermons, gone to Bible school and such, I'm confident I've heard all this before. But it went in one ear and then got rewired to my original thinking, confirming what I have believed all along. Now, my heart is hearing a new tune...a much more powerful and stunning tune...

and I am in awe.

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