Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance,does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
6 He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
When you think about it, both narcissists and their victims underestimate God. Narcissists, in their overvaluation of themselves and undervaluation of God’s majesty, attempt to take His place. Their victims underestimate the power and ability of God to act on their behalf and in their defense.
Begin to gain perspective by getting outside to look up at God’s handiwork in the heavens. I have been doing it frequently, and it has been very good.
The following clip may also help.
Narcissists (aka those with insolent pride) in our lives may sometimes interfere with our plans. It can be frustrating and maddening. We must deal with N’s wisely. However, it is also helpful to know that God is sovereign even over mangled plans – even if those plans were mangled to due to things beyond our control. John Piper briefly discusses this in God’s Sovereign Plan Behind Your Most Unproductive Days. It’s worth a quick look.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
A blog update: I am working on an extensive review on how Jesus dealt with the narcissists of His day (the Pharisees). If you would like a sneak peek at my raw incomplete notes you can see them at How Jesus Dealt With The N’s.
For an overview of what this blog is about, please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective.
43 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
This classic, beautiful statement by God to His beloved Israel is a clear reminder to us that when God allows us to go through deep waters He will be with us in it, and that He will not allow those deep waters to overcome us.
But we might say, “that applies to Israel, and not me”. He repeats the same sentiment toward believers in Romans 8:28-39 when He says that nothing can separate us from His love.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
“The Lord will again take delight in prospering you.” (Deuteronomy 30:9)
“God does not bless us begrudgingly. There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to him. He seeks us out, because it is his pleasure to do us good. God is not waiting for us; he is pursuing us. That, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.”
“God loves to show mercy. Let me say it again. God loves to show mercy. He is not hesitant or indecisive or tentative in his desires to do good to his people. His anger must be released by a stiff safety lock, but his mercy has a hair trigger. That’s what he meant when he came down on Mount Sinai and said to Moses, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Exodus 34:6). It’s what he meant when he said in Jeremiah 9:24, “I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
“God is never irritable or edgy. His anger never has a short fuse. Instead he is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfillment of his delights.
“This is hard for us to comprehend, because we have to sleep every day just to cope, not to mention thrive. Our emotions go up and down. We get bored and discouraged one day and feel hopeful and excited another.
“We are like little geysers that gurgle and sputter and pop erratically. But God is like a great Niagara Falls — you look at 186,000 tons of water crashing over the precipice every minute, and think: Surely this can’t keep going at this force year after year after year. Yet it does.
“That’s the way God is about doing us good. He never grows weary of it. It never gets boring to him. The Niagara of his grace has no end.”
19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
We have discussed in previous posts the importance of viewing our circumstances through the lens of God’s goodness. The most comprehensive discussion of God’s goodness ever written was by Stephen Charnock in his book on the Existence and Attributes of God. It is a difficult read due to its length (1100 pages) and language style (17th century Elizabethan English). A modern version of Charnock’s chapter on the goodness of God has just been released, called Boundlessly Good: God’s Motive For All That He Does. It is shorter (print version is 130 pages, Kindle version is 236 pages) and much more readable due to modern sentence structures, etc.
If you truly want to begin to understand the “why’s”, I would encourage you to look at this book. It has been a life-changer for me.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Many of you may think “how am I going to get through this one more day”? Or possibly living in dread of an event coming up that you are pretty sure your N is going to spoil. Or something similar.
There’s another way to look at it. If you look at this through the lens of God’s goodness (i.e. – everything that happens to you is good – it is just a matter of HOW it is good), and if you believe that God’s grace is fully sufficient for every need and that He will provide it as it’s needed – then you can view the impending possible difficulty as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on your behalf – either through working to shield you, or to give you the measure of internal grace needed to experience joy in the midst of trouble. In other words, rather than dreading it, you could look forward with anticipation to seeing God work on your behalf.
2 Chronicles 16:9
9 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His……
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
But as Jesus taught His disciples to pray…..
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
……He does not give us tomorrow’s provision today, He will give that tomorrow – and give today’s provision today, as it is needed. This gives us the opportunity to rely on Him, to trust Him, to need Him just a little bit more. And that daily need for Him further builds our relationship with Him.
John Piper has a very helpful illustration in his book “Future Grace“. Piper said to picture God’s promise that His provision of grace will be there when needed like a river flowing toward the edge of a waterfall. The river illustrates the grace coming to us in the future, and the edge of the waterfall is “today” or “this minute”. God is promising the river of grace to continue to flow toward us, while we experience this moment’s grace at the edge of the waterfall. The river of grace continuing to flow can give us peace today that the grace needed tomorrow will be there tomorrow. Therefore, we can simply focus on applying His grace at this moment, and trust Him for future moments.
Part of our peace today that grace will be there tomorrow is the anticipation of the opportunity to learn and grow, and to see God act (in big or little ways) on our behalf. While for some, the particular trial may not last very long, for others it may last a lifetime. But we can trust that God has His loving purposes in either case, and that the lesson of trusting Him today for the grace needed tomorrow will carry us throughout our entire lives.
19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
[See here for the road map for this discussion on why God allows narcissists to wreak havoc]
11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
- God’s purposes, plans, and providences in our lives ultimately flow out of his divine nature, and since
- His divine nature includes being completely wise, good, loving, and just (among many other things), and since
- He has the power to implement what He decides, and the ability to use evil for accomplishing good
Then, we can safely assume that everything that comes our way is not just allowed, but designed by God for our good. So, rather than seeing things that happen to us as either “good” or “bad”, we can safely view everything that happens to us as “good”. The only question is “how is God being good to us in this particular situation”?
That is what we intend to explore in the next phase of this discussion on why God allows Narcissists to wreak havoc. The intent is to move from “why is God doing this to me?” and “how do I escape this?” to “how is God intending this bad situation for my good?” and “how do I wisely deal with it?”. And, ultimately, to trust Him even when we cannot figure out what He is doing. Continue reading
God’s plan for a purpose of love IS based on a plan – which God wisely developed, and detailed right from the start.
8 “Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
The only way that God could “declare the end”, “from the beginning””in ancient times” (an understatement for eternity past), would be to work out right from the start all of the details of His plan, and be able to guarantee the execution of each of those details. Any other way would cause the plan to veer off course. Think about some of your own plans that you made in your life – they never worked out exactly as planned because there were always details that you were simply not able to control. This did not happen with God’s plan. He wisely planned all of the details and controlled them, so that He could declare right at the start what would be the outcome of His plan – the fullest expression of His nature (love, justice, etc) and strength.
8 ….. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He (God) purposed in Him (Jesus) ……..11 …… who (God) works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
God’s will is based on a loving purpose (“kind intention”). That loving purpose is based on His inherent nature (“God is love” – 1 John 4:8). And He executes everything, down to the tiniest detail, according to the plan which he has created (“works all things after the counsel of His will”).
The end of all of it is that we will praise Him for his manifold excellence (“praise of His glory”) which He has shown in every possible way – and of which we have been made a prime beneficiary.
When we ask Why He is allowing a Narcissist to wreak havoc in our lives, we can be sure that it is not just some random thing going on – there is a much bigger plan in play, and the essence of that plan is love.
Luke 16:19-31 tells us the story of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man dressed well, lived in luxury, and was apparently healthy. Lazarus was a beggar, diseased, dirty, and “longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke16:21). If I asked, “Who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus?” you would presumably reply, “The rich man, of course.”
We aren’t told that this rich man was dishonest or irreligious or that he was worse than your average person. We don’t know that he despised poor Lazarus; we only know that he ignored him. He lived his life as if the poor man didn’t exist. He didn’t use his God-provided wealth to care for another man in need.
Both men die. Lazarus goes to Heaven and the rich man goes to hell. When the rich man begs Abraham from across the gulf to send Lazarus to relieve his suffering, Abraham replies, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25).
Now that you’ve heard the rest of the story, who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus? You’d probably like to switch places, wouldn’t you? But that’s Abraham’s point: After death, it’s too late to switch.
This parable represents a strong and often overlooked New Testament teaching, which we might call “the reversal doctrine.” It teaches that in eternity many of us will find ourselves in opposite conditions from our current situation on earth.
In this life, the rich man “lived in luxury every day,” while Lazarus begged at his gate, living in misery. At the moment of death, their situations reversed—the rich man was in hell’s torment and the poor man in Heaven’s comfort.
It would be both simplistic and theologically inaccurate to conclude that Heaven is earned by poverty and hell is earned by wealth. But this parable is not isolated—it corroborates a host of other teachings by Jesus, as well as those of the apostles.
In the song she composed in anticipation of Christ’s birth, Mary said, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke1:53).
“Blessed are you who are poor,” Jesus says, and “Woe to you who are rich,” precisely because their status will one day be reversed (Luke6:20, 25). The poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and are persecuted will be relieved and fulfilled and have a great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:3-12). Those praised in this world will not be highly regarded in the next, and vice versa (Matthew 6:1-4, 16-18). Those who are exalted in this life will often be humbled in the next; those who are humbled here on earth will be exalted in Heaven (Matthew23:12).
Those who are poor in this world will often be rich in the next, and those who are rich in this world will often be poor in the next (James 1:9-12). The poor are reassured that the hoarding and oppressing rich will one day be punished and the honest poor will be relieved (James 5:1-6). In Revelation 18:7, a voice from Heaven says of materialistic Babylon, “Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.”
Some of these passages may present us with theological difficulties, but all of them remind us that temporal sacrifices will pay off in eternity and temporal indulgences will cost us in eternity. These are the verses that encouraged Christian slaves and should have served warning to the plantation owners who were profiting from slavery. The reversal doctrine is comforting to the poor and weak, and threatening to the rich and powerful. But it’s a consistent teaching of the New Testament—one that confirms the premise that materialism is not only wrong but stupid. Conversely, trusting God, giving and caring and sharing are not only right but smart.
Someday this upside-down world will be turned right side up. Nothing in all eternity will turn it back again. If we are wise, we will spend our brief lives on earth positioning ourselves for the turn.
Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom—
We have heard a report from the Lord,
And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying,
“Arise and let us go against her for battle”—
2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
You are greatly despised.
3 “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,
You who live in the clefts of [b]the rock,
In the loftiness of your dwelling place,
Who say in your heart,
‘Who will bring me down to earth?’
4 “Though you build high like the eagle,
Though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.
It is easy for a proud person to think that he can build a strong enough wall through his wealth or fame to prevent himself from being humbled by God. Of course, a proud person does not consciously think in terms of being humbled by God (as he rarely acknowledges God), but in terms of “bad things happening” to him. But as God demonstrated through Nebuchadnezzar, He is able to humble anyone. And as He declares here with Edom (family line of Esau, another N), it does not matter how much an N tries to guard against it, if God decides to humble an N, He will make it happen.
- Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride” – see here
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.