I awoke this morning with a prayer on my lips. Not so much a prayer than a bunch of whispers strung together in the dark. It all started yesterday with the story about the man who was taking a morning jog in the town where his girlfriend lived. Three teenage youths were sitting on a porch and one of them said, “Hey there’s our target.” And then pulled out a gun and shot Christopher Lane in the back. All because, “They were bored.”
This kind of thing is happening more and more. All these events prompt us to ask just what kind of world are we living in? What makes three teenaged youths feel like life is so bleak that they have to manufacture a murder for excitement? What brought them to such hopelessness? I see it in their eyes in the mug shots. It is so easy to hate them, their insolence. But I want to know what got them there?
There were other questions that I spoke into the half-light this morning as well. Questions like why is my own church closing down to put in new carpet and a coffee shop when I know for a fact that children are going to school hungry a few short miles away. I am having a hard time reconciling that. I am still praying about that one.
Another thought came through…….and this one was loud and clear. What am I doing with my days? How will they measure up when I am standing before God and He asks why I didn’t give a reason for the hope within me?
Then on Pinterest I ran across a pin that said “Pinned to Atheism” below it, and I had to follow the thread. Nothing I saw surprised me much, and saddened me more than anything. There was one comparing prayer to something I can’t even name here, with a picture. And there were all the references to our Old Testament God who is portrayed as a cruel old man in the sky who takes pleasure in striking people dead.
If I could talk with you, this is what I would tell you. I can identify with some of what you posted, I really can. That is, I could if I didn’t know God the way I do. And honestly, sometimes I think if we had done a better job at loving in the church it would take the sting out of your hate.
But then again, Jesus loved perfectly and they killed Him for it.
And I understand your difficulty in seeing how a loving God could ask Abraham to kill his only son. If I didn’t know the context and the whole story, and if I hadn’t personally experienced the depth and breadth and love of God for myself.
You see, Abraham had a faith and grasp of the love of God that we can scarcely understand. And Abraham had a promise in his pocket. A promise that he would be the father of a great nation. He knew that could never happen if Issac died. He also knew that God loved Issac even more than Abraham did. He trusted God with what he loved most in the world.
And God will never ask anyone to love more than He already has.
You ask, “What kind of God would do that?”
The kind of God who would love so much He would lose what He loved most to get back a people who were willfully turned against Him.
The kind of God who didn’t hesitate to volunteer Himself up for a terrible death for a people who for the most part were uncaring and disinterested.
I wish you knew Him. I wish the church did a better job at loving so you wouldn’t have so many easy targets. I did notice that none of your boards targeted Jesus. It is tough to find fault with someone who spent their entire time on earth going about doing good. If we all did a better job at following His example, I have a feeling it would diffuse some of the anger I saw on your boards.
I did notice that one of them said something like, “I don’t need a God to tell me right from wrong, I have a conscience.”
But where did that come from? Why do we instinctively know that some things are just plain wrong and nobody argues about it. We know things like murder and stealing are wrong. C.S Lewis did a masterful job at explaining that one.
As I rounded the corner on my morning walk, I saw the fingers of light come down out of the sky and I thought about the source of that light as the strains of “You Never Let Go” came through my iPod. I felt something that I feel every single day when I see that and I never ever take it for granted. The thought dropped in like a pin: “We love because He first loved us.”
I can’t imagine not knowing the source of that light. I can’t imagine how hopeless it would be to believe in nothing bigger than your own thoughts, nothing bigger than yourself and what your eyes can see around you.
I want so much for you to know my God. And if you were here I would tell you about all the things I have seen and heard and felt that cannot be explained any other way but Supernaturally. I would tell you of lives changed in the twinkling of an eye. I would tell you of the healing I received and how I will never forget it, and I would tell you how He came to me one cold and foggy December day and touched me with a love that I can never quite put into words.
I would tell you of the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s love. A love I know to be real.
And how He loves you so, even if you don’t believe in Him.