While speaking at IWU earlier this week, one of the things I made a point of was telling them that A) God is in control, B) Hard things happen, and C) A & B do not contradict one another. I’m pretty sure that most people disagree with me. And I’m just as sure Jesus is on my side.
I was referencing Matthew 11:6, where Jesus, after reminding John’s disciples about all the good things that were going on, tacked on a very ominous warning. It was strange, actually, and they probably wondered about it for a while.
“Go and tell John what you hear and see. The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
How could they be offended? After all, the Kingdom was being displayed in power all around them. Why the downer by Jesus?
Jesus knew what they did not – that not many days hence, John’s head would be presented on a platter. There were a lot of great things happening, but John was about to be killed…and Jesus knew the disciples were going to struggle reconciling those two things: widespread revival and an unexplainable death.
I’ve watched Pat Robertson’s recent trails in the media with a real interest. I’m not getting into whether or not he was right or wrong by referring to Haitian history in light of the earthquake (although interestingly, I met Haitians who thought he was right). My real point is that most Christians were offended that he even raised the question. Again, I’m not ready to say that it was God, the devil, or a geological inevitability. I’m just observing how many people felt compelled to write God a hall pass so that no one thought it was His responsibility. They needed to re-frame the debate because they couldn’t fathom or accept a God who might do such a thing.
Let us remember that there is, in heaven, an unfathomable God. In the Old Testament, Job said “God is great, and we do not know Him….”.
When all is going well, when our church is growing, when our services are exciting, when our building payment is being made and there is much joy in the camp, it might be a good time to gauge our heart with the question of how we would respond if something difficult happened. Could it possibly be God? And if it is, would we be so offended with Him that we would walk away in disgust?
At the culmination of all time, there will be a song sung by the world wide church. It is not sung by a fringe group or a nutty patriarch. It is sung in a loud voice, by a huge multitude. The singers agree with deafening enthusiasm. The lyrics go like this….”Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgments are true and just….”.
It would appear that few of us are willing to sing the song quite yet, because any time someone suggests that it might be appropriate, we drum them out of the choir.
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