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Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Careful Little Eyes, Little Ears, Little Mouth

When awful things like the earthquake in Haiti happen, people near and far reveal their theology. Like saturated sponges being squeezed, whatever has filled it up will pour out. Through word and deed, or lack thereof, we discover what people really think about God.

Some shake fists at the Creator, some resign apathetically to His will, some applaud the so-called “wrath of God,” others ignore His hand, and still others remain ignorant of His role.

We live in a culture that allows and encourages the individual to define God, which too often leads to the disregard of Truths He tells us about Himself in His Word. When shame sends us running and rationalizing, God is love. When something unexplainable and harmful happens, God is heartless and harsh.

I am an advocate of “working out your own salvation” (Phil. 2:12-13). I 100% believe in a personal relationship with God and that entails a lot of freedom. However, Truth is still Truth, and my freedom should be interpreted on the basis of God’s Word, a freedom through Christ, not apart from or in spite of the gift He offers. (Rom. 6:1-2)

That’s why, at the risk of sounding preachy, I implore you with this thought.

Shortly after the earthquake, President Obama made a statement in which he described the event as “cruel.”

I’m sorry, but I must object.

In fact, I must strenuously object.

Of course, the devastation in Haiti is a lot of things: horrendous, heartbreaking, staggering, unspeakable, catastrophic.

But one thing it isn’t - cruel.

Cruel implies deliberate and remorseless intent, Someone or Something that is capable of controlling cosmic-sized land masses intentionally destroying Port au Prince for the exclusive purpose of causing pain and anguish.

Imagine the consequences if #1 – we really believed that, and/or #2 – that were true.

I heard a sermon recently that highlighted the simple prayer many of us learned as children.

God is Great, God is Good.

If God is great but not good, He’s a tyrant, subject to cruelty.

If God is good but not great, He’s a pansy, powerless, that nice old man in the sky.

But the prayer holds true to God’s Word – He is both great and good.

He is never a pansy.

He is never cruel.

I don’t have an explanation for the earthquake, or the tsunami, or 9/11, or the cancer death of a four-year-old son of some people I know, or why bad things happen to good people… Of course, I have my theories and understandings and opinions.

But the thing I know for sure, the one thing I can announce with confidence, without a doubting bone in my body is that God is Good, ALL the time, He is FAITHFUL (there’s that F-word again!), and that circumstances DO NOT define God.

Obama didn’t outright say “God is cruel,” but I find his rhetoric dangerous because it puts that idea out there. What else could he mean? That Mother Nature is cruel? Well, that is just as dangerous of a belief - both set-ups for the anti-Christ. I know – bold statement – but the Faithful must keep their eyes and ears open and hearts tuned to God.

God is never the bad guy.

With reckless abandon and tenacious faith, resist the temptation to think so, even during photomontages on the evening news.

4 comments:

lynnrush said...

With your title, I immediately thought of the song by Casting Crowns from the "FireProof" sound track. :-)

Hey, great post. Nice viewpoint. "He is never a pansy." That made me smile.

Have a great weekend, girl.

KM Wilsher said...

Nice!

I hear a lot. I prayed for this and God sent this instead. . . I always respond, "Mmmm, not sure God sent the other thing. . .was probably the enemy who did."

This needed to be said. I hope others read it. . .

Chris said...

Very good post. I think more people should read this. Boiled down, the question the world asks at times like this is "Why does God allow bad things to happen?" The answer is both complex and simple. Because God loves us, He gave us freedom--freedom to reciprocate His love or reject Him. Adam sinned and brought about the Fall, the consequence of this--that God warned us of--is the entrance of Death into creation. Thank God for giving us His Son! Without salvation through Jesus, this world would be a hopeless place. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Peter Stone said...

Good post, I've been reading quite a few posts lately about people's reactions to others who have said tactless comments about Haiti.
Loved the comments about God is Great, God is Good, and how He can't be just one or the other.