Why Does He Bother with Us?
I was cresting a hill on a trail above La Canada last month, hiking through an area that had been swept by a wildfire a couple of years ago. The bare branches of long-dead trees stretched up toward a bright blue sky. It would have been a fairly bleak scene, were it not for the beautiful burst of yellow wildflowers reaching up between the charred trees, offering a striking green and yellow contrast to the blackened trunks that covered the hillside.
It was an unforgettable visual parable of God’s power to bring life even from death, and I
had a “welling moment” – that’s how I’ve come to refer to those times on my hikes when my thoughts about God just seem to expand inside my heart until it feels like I’m going to pop! Yeah, I love the welling moments.
This one led me to an odd prayer that I’ve never prayed before. I knew from Scripture passages like Romans 1 that God created the world so that His invisible attributes could be seen, “being understood through what has been made.” God’s revelation of His power through that hillside was so overwhelming that I cried out this prayer: “God, you didn’t need us! Look at this scene! Nature speaks so powerfully of who You are. Why did you bother creating messed-up people like us?”
I think He directed my mind immediately to the answer. I realized that the trees don’t need forgiveness. The hillsides don’t need mercy. They reveal His power and His creativity, and make us aware of His presence, but that picture of God is incomplete. In order for His grace to be made known, He had to create something that would need it. That’s where we come in.
What an incredible thought! God’s goal to reveal His attributes through His creation required that a part of that creation become capable of disappointing Him, of rebelling against Him, of spitting in His face, tearing the flesh off His back…yes, even of murdering Him. Our sin provided Him the opportunity to show His love to people who deserve only His wrath. Before He could love and die for rebels, He had to create something capable of rebellion. So he made us, knowing exactly what we would do, and planning to use our sin to reveal His grace.
My worship on the rest of that hike was a little more awe-filled than usual, as I realized that my life explains God in ways that the hillsides can’t. And that as a forgiven sinner, I know first- hand a part of God that even the angels can only know from a distance. I love that. I hope you do, too.