What we think about God does in fact matter. It is what ultimately matters.
It may not feel like that for good stretches of a month, or a year, or 10 years, but make not mistake about it, what we think about God ultimately shapes how we react to God and how we follow God. It shapes our marriages, shapes our parenting, shapes our friendships, our work ethic, our view of self, our dreams and passions and deep soul desires. Nothing in life is left untouched and unshaped by our view of God.
I’m reminded of that as I read these two accounts. Both are from theology professors, both therefore teach the word of God, and both are from fathers that lost their daughters.
Those that have read my blog posts here know that I have followed RC Sproul Jr and his ongoing season of grief over the death of his wife and daughter. These are not about him. These are other men, like many men out there, that have found their life hit a season they hoped would never come.
You may wonder what my fascination with stories like these are, to which I would say: I’m both a father and a teacher of the word. One carries potentially the greatest pain in life (the lost of a child) and the other the greatest answer in life (the truth about God). Therefore, I read with great desire these stories of men whose fatherhood crashes against their pastoralship. I want to know – “How does their theological reflections on God shape their strength in life’s disasters.”
Enough said. I invite you to read two men’s testimony who are going through the same situation but hold vastly different theology:
What Good Grief Looks Like When A Daughter Dies” – By Ben Witherington (an Arminian pastor)
Reflections on the Loss of Our Daughter – By Fred Zaspel (a Reformed pastor)
NOTE: I have no desire here to convince you to understand God through an Arminian or Calvinist hermenuetic. I simply want to encourage you to believe that thinking, studying, and deeply reflecting on who God is within the revelation of scripture (i.e. theology) is the greatest endeavor you can do to shape your heart and life.