06/17/2012 10:10 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2012

God Loves Me, Loves Me Not

Today, God loves me. I mean, what else can you say. My team won last night. The player I was cheering for won the tournament, my stocks have gone up last week, I had three good meals, last night was a good night's rest. My children have not called me with any problems. My wife got to her destination with no car problems. It is all good. God must love me.

Last week, God was not my friend. Last week, the elections did not go as I had hoped. My doctor did not make it all better with one shot. The bills for my insurance came due. No one volunteered to help us at our office. The sermon I gave seemed pretty bland to me and to the people who heard it. It was not a good week. God did not love me that week.

Sometimes I think that is how many of us evaluate our relationship with the Holy. It is a very, very old standard by which lots of people have used to evaluate their relationship with God. If things are going very well, and we are prospering then we must be doing good, and God is blessing us. If things are going poorly and we are struggling, then we must be doing something wrong, and God is punishing us. It is a measuring stick that is even used in the Old Testament. If the king was faithful, then God blessed him and the king prospered. If the king was unfaithful, then God did not bless and the king suffered defeat and opposition.

It is the criteria that was debated directly in the book of Job. It was the philosophy that the disciples asked Jesus about when the man born blind came to Jesus. Who sinned to make this man blind? His parents or He?

But what fascinates me most about us is how rapidly we change our opinion about what God thinks about us depending on the one event or one week. We can go from thinking that God loves us to God has it in for us in a couple of hours. We can go from thinking that we are blessed to the conviction that God ignores us in one moment. Maybe we could at least try to get a broader picture and consider the whole events of a year or two years.

We might want to try to steady ourselves in the basic affirmation that indeed God loves the world and all who are in it and so God loves us all the time regardless of what happens to us. That God loves us and is working for the good of all creation in the events of the created order.

But if that is a stretch for us then certainly we can remind ourselves as the Sinatra song says, "Life keeps turning in cycles, first there is laughter then tears. So I think I'll stay round and see what tomorrow brings." And the whole story has not been told. One cannot evaluate the book until you get to the end. We cannot make the final decision until the final event has happened. There is always the possibility of something happening that will change our verdict.

It is a journey, an adventure, and without ups, downs, mysteries, challenges, surprises and joys it would not be nearly as much fun.