the holiness of God

This post was first shared as issue 4 of These Sacred Words

Am I the only one who has a hard time accepting it when God says “no” to me?

Am I the only one who grits my teeth in frustration when God’s response to my prayer for a good thing is “wait”?

Am I the only one who feels forgotten by God when something hard happens in my life?

Sometimes I feel alone in my doubts and frustrations, but unfortunately I know these feelings are common.

I hear echoes of these sentiments when I hear friends say, “how could God do this to me?” or “it seems like God answers her prayers, but he’s obviously forgotten about me.”

I’ve noticed that we (myself very much included) can be so quick to question God.

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on God’s goodness. I’ve been reminding myself over and over again that God’s “slowness” to answer my prayers is still somehow within his kindness to me. That his ‘no’s and ‘wait’s are somehow for my good and his glory. That I must be open-handed and trust him with my prayers and dreams.

But I think in all of this, as I’ve rehearsed these good aspects of his character, I’ve forgotten to remember an important facet of who he is.

I’ve forgotten to dwell on God’s holiness.

God’s holiness is his set-apartness. His worth, his big-ness, his awe-inspiring, fear-inspiring nature.

The word holy literally derives from a word meaning “to separate.” God’s holiness is what makes him different from us. It is his separateness, his set-apartness from every other thing or person, that makes him God.

Throughout Scripture, the word “holy” is used over and over again in reverence and praise of God:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

The whole earth is full of his glory!”
– Isaiah 6:3-5 (also Rev. 4:8)

“By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.”
– Leviticus 10:3

In the Bible, almost every single time someone came into the presence of God, they hit the floor, covered their face, and said something like “woe is me, I am terrified.”

They recognized his holiness.

Lately I’ve been struggling to believe that God’s plan is good for me. I’ve been asking questions of God, wondering why he would do this or that in my life.

And while, yes, the Lord is ever-patient with us, is capable of handling our questions, and is gracious with our doubts…

Who are we to question him?

He is holy and we are not. He is God and we are not.

Remember God’s harsh rebuke of Job when he questions him,

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding…”
Job 38:1-4

Friend, I share these reminders with as much grace and kindness as I can. I share these words knowing that I too need them desperately.

I hope you see that there is grace to doubt and question, to wonder and wrestle, to pray and hope….but I also hope you see that at the end of the day we must stop and let go of our disbelief and fall in faith before a God who is holy. We must trust that everything he does is good and right and just.

In the glorious light of who God is, we can have no other response but to bow on our faces in belief, submission, and trust.

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