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May Newsletter-His Love

(I originally posted this letter on our website and Facebook the last week of March. Found a few mistakes in that one, restated a few things differently in this one. The first was spontaneous, this one had a bit more time to express a few things more clearly. I have made changes to the text but the context is only slightly different…ken)

Well, as grandma would say, “We’re in quite a pickle.” Covid-19 is certainly enough to deal with, thank you, but I recently saw an interview from some celebrity about him being angry at God. It’s always fascinated me what unbelievers must think about some of the things we believers attribute to God in times like these. Sometimes, I can see why many are ‘put off’ by such talk rather than being drawn to God. During a major crisis it seems we often take every opportunity for the self-described defenders of our Faith to ‘tag God’ as leaving His fingerprints on the crisis, maybe even suggesting He caused it. So, let’s see, let’s put weight to this point of being angry at God. Should anyone think it’s logical or appropriate to be angry at God for any reason? Who among us is willing to give a Loving God the glory for this virus and for it having such a negative impact on human lives? Seems to me you can only come up with some reason to be angry at God if you either have misinformation, maybe fake news about God, or you simply parrot the traditional things that have been said for centuries about Him. In that traditional world, nothing changed very much with the cross and resurrection. We just simply moved on with our story about an angry God and a foolish or stiff-necked people. I get it; we’ve been saying things like that so long that sometimes it’s our first response in these terrible situations. We teach it, we say it, we print it and when this is all over we will pack it away to be used again in a future crisis.

My point, this God we so easily believe deserves anger and maybe our accusations, this is the same God that has come from the other side of Genesis, before the foundation of the world to be with us, this Emmanuel God. This God Who physically stepped into our world, took on flesh, did that to be with us in times like these, to be included with us during these times–are we to be believe He had something to do with actually doing this to us? This God, our God, Who sent His Son to be harassed by the very creatures He Himself created, creatures that humiliated Him, those very same creatures flogged Him, spat on Him, hated and despised Him, nailed Him to a tree, and separated themselves from Him as He took His last breath. To me, that’s not the kind of God that deserves any anger from His believers. To look at Love that way, we certainly are an interesting bunch! Jesus tried to show us the heart of the Father in Luke 11:11/Matt. 5:21: ‘If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father will he give him a stone?…If you then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.’ That’s God’s position in this whole thing for all those that will receive Him. Some may suggest that God is holding back something from us to teach us something. While Covid-19 is happening both believers and unbelievers perish. A God that is Love isn’t holding back from loving people. A God like ours is the remedy. Not to be confused with anything else we might imagine. The God that was the kind of God that was holding out, holding back, was the initial accusation of the serpent to Adam. God seeks us out, doesn’t hide and wait. The serpent’s lie was the first lie and it’s still a lie today. That’s a whisper we should not believe.

Jesus came to be with us for two reasons: first, to die on our behalf, to forgive us for our sins even while we were sinners. Second, and this is found throughout the New Testament writings of Paul and John, Jesus came to give you a New Life, a new way to live life, a new covenant. A New Covenant! Not to establish the old one but to introduce a New One. Would Jesus have come even if Adam had not fallen? I think He would have in order to establish that adoption relationship between God and creature:
‘But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son; and if a son, then heir of God through Christ. (Gal. 4:4-7)
There is so much to say in that verse but let me narrow it down to just one thing: We, the church, are sons. Each of us has been adopted to the Father, Son and Spirit’s life as ‘belongers’ there. Yes, Jesus came to die for our sins but also to adopt believers into the family of God. We are His. Knowing that, is there anything that we should be angry at God about? Is there anything that deserves that kind of thinking from us? Is God’s hand responsible for this mess we’re in, even just a little bit? Should we accuse Him of such? In times like these just the opposite is actually going on. God does not move away, He is in our hearts for goodness sake; how far can He go? He does not abandon the world. God does exactly what He did with Adam when Adam was such a jerk, He seeks us out, looks for us behind every bush until he finds us and embraces, does not scold or condemn. He simply cannot be separated from us; nothing can separate Him from us. Actually, if God pulled away, left us alone for one second, the whole thing would blow up and return to cosmic dust. (Col. 1:15-16) He’s holding all things together; He’s the only glue we have that stabilizes the whole world in a time like this. God’s hand is stretched out, not pulled back. The Father, the Son and the Spirit all agree, never a difference of opinion but they are One. Each, all, are for you not against.

One last thing, the Gospel is a response to a response. It’s first, God’s response to us. That’s the Father, the Son and the Spirit’s language to say post Adam, ‘No way, I’m not leaving them to themselves, I’m not giving up on them. Let us, Father, Son and Spirit, step into the whole mess and bring them from fear to Faith, from darkness into Light. God responded to us by redemption and adoption. Now we can respond to their response. Repentance is not our persuading our God to graciousness. His graciousness and forgiveness have already been established. His Mercies are new every day. They are a part of His character. This God is not like any other god. God doesn’t need His mind to be changed about us or be persuaded for favor (as though you thought you really could). It’s our minds that need to be rearranged. We must rearrange our minds to comprehend His first response: His Love. Psalm 136:11-12 reaffirms that God’s arm is constantly reaching out because His Mercy endures forever. That is His response to us; what will we do about that, what will we say and share about that? What will we say about Him to believers and unbelievers in times like these? Days like these should be evangelical moments, share His Love moments, sometimes I think we do the opposite of that.

There is a warning against apostasy found in Hebrews chapter 5. Verse 12 refers to elementary things, basic things, to which we should return. Knowing the following is elementary in times like these and really sufficient enough for us, this should be our first thought instead of some of the ones I’ve heard: ‘Jesus loves me this I know, the Bible tells me so….’ It’s not possible for me to be angry at God. My knowing the Love of God doesn’t permit me to think God is holding back stuff, because Jesus said His heavenly Father doesn’t hand out stones. These kinds of days are when the Church should be in season, bear the most fruit, and make the most effort to celebrate God’s Love, not be defined by someone that’s a bit angry.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized

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