“I fully accept that one reason why the world regards us as irrelevant and introverted is because of our morbid obsession with the state of the Church. Not only are we prone to judge the proximity of the Kingdom of God by our membership statistics—when we grow, it is at hand; when we are in decline, it tarries. But more seriously, we use the Church as a thermometer by which to measure the state of God’s health. To put it crudely, there are sincere church folk who appear quite convinced that should the last member of their church expire, God will disappear in a puff of purple smoke.” So said Colin Morris.
Will we ever get over that way of thinking?
Whatever we say in our pain or in our frustration about what God isn’t doing that he should be doing, or what God could do “if only we would help him”—whatever we say under those circumstances, however sensible it sounds and however understandable it is that we would say it, when we turn around in our high-strung state there stands Jesus.
The former and late atheist, Anthony Flew, remarked in his New Essays in Philosophical Theology that the entire religious question wouldn’t be worth bothering about, “if it were not for that one life lived”—he was referring to Jesus.
When the wise ones in the Enlightenment period had made up their minds to dissolve the Bible and everything in it in their critical acids Jesus stood stubbornly in their way. What were they to do with him? You simply can’t make sense of the Bible as a whole without Jesus and He won’t let you “explain” Him away in respectful speech or sideline Him with respectful nods. They shuffled off and Jesus remains—Bible and all.
The Lord Jesus not only saves people; he “saves” God. Since He is the image of the God we can’t see and the fullness of GOD is embodied in Him of you hear Him saying things like, “If you know Me you know the Father. If you see me you see the Father who sent Me.”
Say God doesn’t care about sin and then look at Jesus (Romans 3:23-25; John 2:13-17). Say God doesn’t care about people and then look at Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 8:31-32; ACTS 20:31 ). Say God is powerless in the face of corrupt powers and death-dealers and then look at Jesus (Acts 2:23; 4:24-31). Say God doesn’t keep his promises and then look at Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). Say God doesn’t know how to deal with the world and its satanic ways and then listen to Jesus (John 12:31; 16:33). Say God will grow tired of us and walk away from us and then look at Jesus (Hebrews 13:5-8).
Though I’ve had a life with comparatively little to complain about I think I know at times what it really means to be tired and down so I can guess in the right direction how it must be for people who know real trouble, day in and day out for years and with no hope for change. People for whom wise words settle nothing, whose nerves are frayed, whose spirits are close to broken and whose strength has all but ebbed completely away. They’re so troubled that even our wise and good words, kindly spoken—and they should be spoken—they don’t immediately help a lot. Sigh. But Paul spoke the right kind of truth to very anxious people: “Comfort one another with these words.”
David Livingstone knew what prolonged misery and hardship was lived much of the time on his knees and wrestling with loss, loneliness, hunger, fatigue and recurring disappointment. Faced with death and the thwarting of his purpose he wrote in his Journal one evening in January 1856, “Felt much turmoil of spirit in prospect of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region and this teeming population knocked on the head by savages tomorrow. But I read that Jesus said, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all the nations, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honour, so there’s the end of it!”
That man Jesus doesn’t lie and He is God revealing Himself.So you, poor bruised soul, where does that leave you? If there is to be no change for you right now, trust HIM there’s a new world coming.
Thank you Jim, for another inspiring lesson. Blessings upon you, as we continue to always remember you fondly.
How pleasing to hear from you two and to know you and God are still all these years happily enjoying the relationship. So nice. jim