Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Simpleton Christians.

A friend of mine recently posted this in the What’s App group chat-line.
“Awesome Conversation between God And a Man. Read it and don’t forget to share it with your friends.

Man: God, can I ask You a question?
God: Sure

Man: Promise You won’t get mad …

God: I promise

Man: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do u mean?

Man: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Man: My car took forever to start

God: Okay

Man: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait

God: Huummm…

Man: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call

God: All right

Man: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~ I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?

…(here comes God’s reply)…
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that

Man (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Man: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they had, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Man (embarrassed): Okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Man (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Man: I’m sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust Me…. in All things , the good & the bad.

Man: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan.

Man: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after my children…”
That’s the end of the dialogue between a loving God and his complaining child. I thought long and hard about it and came up with a continuation of that dialogue. Please bear with me here.
“Here is the same awesome conversation between God and the same child (a continuation)...
Man: Dear God, I thank you for sending that angel to battle with the angel of death on my behalf. But my friend's father just passed away in his sleep last week, after a prolonged struggle with cancer. He died in great pain.
God: I see...didn't send my angel for him because it’s his time.
Man: God, I’m also grateful that I didn't eat that sandwich...it's contaminated. But just heard many children in Africa are dying of starvation. 12 die every minute. They would have loved to eat that contaminated sandwich just to have lived a few day longer…maybe?
God: Oh dear. That's the fallen world son.
Man: ...and about the phone and false witness to bother me. Erm...my church friend’s grandpa just lost his life savings because a man called and told him that his granddaughter was kidnapped and will die if he didn’t pay the ransom immediately. He panicked and foolishly wired the money to the caller’s account not realizing his granddaughter was safe in school.
God: Noted...but son, evil exists for the same reason that love prevails…it’s free will.
Man: ...and about that drunk driver...it actually hit a family with a baby no older than 2. They were going for a holiday, heading to the airport.
God: Mm…
Man: ...and I have to thank you for that foot massager and the blackout you averted. But almost all of North Korea is covered in pitch darkness and many Christians there were abducted and tortured in the covers of the night.
God: I see...it’s my sovereignty at work son. All things will work out in the end.
Man: Anyway, thank you so much God for keeping me safe and secure today. I count my blessings and am grateful for your protection.
God: You're welcome son. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after my children...”

I sincerely apologize if I come off as being flippant and irreverent in my second post above. My point is that my friend’s post (copied from another post) makes a mockery of our faith, belief and even God. It just gives an unrealistic, overly-rosy, and pollyannaish misrepresentation of the raw, sometimes unrelenting and unnerving, and visceral reality that a typical Christian go through in his/her journey of faith. And the journey of faith is a lifetime journey mind you. This is not to impugn the sovereignty of God in all that He predisposes or disposes to do. Who am I to comment about that anyway?

But for every blessing we claim in our life, there are enough corresponding misfortune in this world - all happening at the same time and ongoing as I write - that as a whole makes it all simply beyond our understanding and explanation. Naturally we feel especially good, swell and wonderful when things go smoothly for us and our family. We count our blessing with an ever-glow-and-flow of gladness. But do we not know that many families are going through their own personal hell at the same time and there is simply no hard and fast explanation for their pain and suffering? Dare anyone come up with self-serving, ego-stoking explanation for their own blessings so called and conveniently turn a blind eye to the suffering of others? Is this how our God operates? Or is this how we want Him to operate?

You see, every marriage celebrated comes with spousal abuses, child neglects, adultery and divorces we hardly celebrate or announce. Every healing via persistent breakthrough prayer is also accompanied by numerous silent physical sufferings and death the victims and loved ones would be too jaded to share. And every success story is foreshadowed by even more failures that often results in mental depression, disillusionment and even suicides.

So am I trying to be a sourpuss here and talk Christians out of being thankful and grateful for just being alive notwithstanding the ongoing trials, pain and negative reports? Of course not. We are in fact called to rejoice and give thanks always for the good as well as the bad. We are called to be overcomers, and in our weakness and poverty, we are strong and rich in Him.

But my bugbear with my friend’s post is that it makes faith into a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-factory fun excursion and it makes God into someone who micromanages our life to such a hair-splitting extent that every hiccup we experience is explained away by simplistic and logic-defying answers. Underscore "explained away". When we wake up late (instead of sleeping late or staying up to watch a match), it is because the heavens are engaging in a cosmic epical battle between life and death. When our car doesn’t start (instead of our neglect or via mechanical fault), it is because God foresaw an accident due to a drunk driver. Why not just turn the drunk driver into a sober one? And this goes with the contaminated sandwich, the little blackout inconveniences and the phone nuisance.

Maybe the moral of the story is that we should always trust God and trust that all things will work out for the best in the end. So I should live it up a little, lighten up. But to ascribe the occasional hiccups in our life to feel-good, make-believe reasons as described in my friend’s post just makes a simpleton out of Christians and it also makes God into a cosmic butler or genie who exists just to keep our sandwich warm, our roads perfectly safe, our nights eternally bright and our sleep nocturnally sound. This is just not the reality for millions of people in this world and they are inescapably relevant because the God I serve is a God of universal and unconditional love. He doesn’t just make my sandwich good for digestion and “cause” digestion elsewhere that results in countless death. Or prevent my car from starting because of a drunk driver so as to keep me safe and then “cause” daily accidents with tragic results. Or strive to prevent a blackout for my exclusive benefit and then “cause” blackouts in many countries where families suffer with no end.

I am of course not attributing these causes to God (because I really do not know most of the time) but I am definitely not attributing them to those flimsiness of a reason just because my little complaining self and life want to believe that they are so. I know God is looking out for me but his looking out for me may just be the direct opposite of what I dreamily wish He would do for me.

For all you know, it may just be a painful perseverance in a trial. Or a suffering that strengthens me. Or a sin I am struggling with that ends up in heart-wrenching repentance. Or a death, a rebellion and a prodigal returns. Or a joy unexplained in the throes of the furnace of character-reform. In my view, all that makes me a more resilient believer, a more seasoned Christian and a wiser child of God. They will no doubt break me but in breaking me, they make 1 Peter 1:6-7 come truly alive in my spirit if I persevere in faith and hope:- 

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Amen. Cheerz.   

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