Ever notice how God often allows us to wander away from His better ways to do our own thingâ€”even when our own way leads to disaster?!
Sometimes I get angry at God for this.
Me: â€œWhy didnâ€™t you step in? You could have prevented all of this! If you really loved me you wouldnâ€™t have just let me suffer so! God, what gives?â€
But I’m starting to figure out the answer to that question. You know, the, “What gives?” deal.Â I really think I knowâ€”Hey, I may be old, but Iâ€™m slow!
Anyway, why doesnâ€™t God intervene more when He knows good and well that we are about to exersize our right to be idiots?
Actually, as it turns out, Heâ€™s been giving us the freedom to get in a barrel and go over Niagara FallsÂ (even though there are warning signs all over the place) ever since the very first man and woman. Think about it. God could have helped Adam and Eve to make the right decision but He wanted something else far more than he wanted even their simple obedience.
He wanted their trust.
We talked about it this weekend at Southbrook. If you want to hear the message you can find it by clicking here (it should be up on the iTunes site by later today). The message (from the Heroes series) was about the man Abraham. Heâ€™s one of the superheroes of faith listed in the â€œHall of Faith (Fame)â€ chapter of the Bibleâ€”Hebrews 11. Most of the legends of the Bible have a single verse dedicated to them in this well known chapter. Moses, who wrote Genesis, has 6 verses dedicated to him. Thatâ€™s a lot!
Abraham has 12!!!!
Heâ€™s GINORMOUS when it comes to understanding Godâ€™s heart to reach us with His message of love and reconciliation. I mean, come on, 3 major world religions trace their very origins to this one patriarchâ€”Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. So this guy not only figures huge in biblical history, he matters greatly in world history!
And yet, God didnâ€™t shelter even him from disastrous decisions. God allowed Him (many times) to go right ahead and play, â€œI know better than you, God,â€ over and over again like a broken record.
Why? What was God doing?
Same thing He did with Adam and Eveâ€”same thing He does so often with you and I. God was allowing something to grow that only grows in the Incubator of Trust.
I love the way Wayne Jacobsen put it in his book, â€œHe Loves Me.â€ Check this out:
If obedience had been Godâ€™s only issue, donâ€™t you think He would have made the whole scenario (for Adam and Eve, in the Garden) clearer? He told them not to eat from that tree or they would die. He didnâ€™t describe that death in detail. He could have told them how it would destroy His creation by bringing sin, disease, and relational brokenness into His world. It would cause them incredible pain, and not just for them but for all their offspring for thousands of years to come. He could have told them that all they needed to do first was eat of the Tree of Life, so that they would be eternally innocent in His presence.
But He didnâ€™t tell them. If He had, they might have been obedient, but not because they trusted Him (bold emphasis added). They would have obeyed only because it served their self-interest. God would merely have become a tool for their own fulfillment. Self would have still been at the center of their choice, and self would prevent them from discovering the full vitality of life in Him. No, God didnâ€™t do it because He wanted something far betterâ€¦â€
Again, God wanted to awaken the trust that would allow them to participate in the divine community.
Maybe you never saw the tragedy in the Garden of Eden in this light. But what happened was actually a stepping stone to the greater good that God desired.
And still does. From everyone of us.
More on this tomorrow.