Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I’m in Charge Here!

What constitutes adequate reasons to believe? Last week, I had a remarkable conversation. A woman friend informed me, “I’ve seen visions and had the experiences like any Christian!”

Curious about this, I probed, “Well, why then aren’t you a follower of Jesus?” She retorted, “I don’t like the exclusivity of the Christian message. Only those who believe in the Gospel are going to heaven and the rest are condemned. How about those who never heard about Jesus?”

I could have responded Biblically—“We are all guilty before God because we all haven’t been faithful to the truths we already know” (Romans 1:18:32)—but instead, I decided to pursue my probing in a more personal way. “Is it appropriate to reject Christ and His Gospel simply because we don’t like what He said?”

I went on to explain that there are many things in the Bible that I don’t particularly like, but should this be otherwise? If God is truly God and not an idea created by us to satisfy our needs, shouldn’t we expect that such a transcendent Being will say things that offend us? And aren’t we a bit proud to insist that everything He says must sit well with us? Shouldn’t a relationship with such a Being require Him to judge us and not us to judge Him?

Demanding that everything that God says meets our approval is not consistent with our puny status and the character of God. While He is all-knowing, we are petty, selfish, and blind. If I know that I am ignorant of math and have to learn it, I will want to find a teacher who is very knowledgeable and then learn from her. I would be foolish to correct and indict this teacher, knowing that her understanding goes far beyond my own.

Instead, if we know that God exists, we should be willing to come as little children, laying aside our rigid demands that everything meets our approval. If He is God, we must conform to Him, and not the other way around. I might not like everything that gravity does, but it’s greater than I and very demanding. I would be foolish to jump from a building, ignoring gravity, because I don’t approve of all its ways.

I don’t like going to doctors and don’t believe strongly in taking medications, but if I’m desperately ill and all other hope of recovery has vanished, I’ll submit to the doctor. Sadly, over time, our hardness becomes so deeply entrenched that we would gladly place our hope in anyone who isn’t God. I have become acquainted with so many people experiencing life-crushing problems who staunchly continue to refuse to cry out to God. My friend is ready to check herself into a hospital psych-ward even as she valiantly refuses to consider God, despite the many miracles she has seen.

What is even more startling is that we refuse to turn to God even when all other hope has been taken away. Just go to a nursing home or hospice and see how many people are crying out for a hope in the One who can lead them safely beyond death!

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