April 19, 2013

Firsthand Experience | Day 10

God, Can You Handle This?

Today’s scripture to meditate on: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26

The following is an excerpt from Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own by Ryan and Josh Shook.

When we were kids, we believed our dad was the strongest man on earth. We would team up on Dad and try to take him down. We’d jump on his back, climb up his arms, wrap ourselves around his legs—whatever we could think of to try to bring him to his knees.

Never worked, though. We barely got him to budge. Of course, back then we were small, and our perspective was limited. Dad really is a strong guy, but the strongest man on earth? No. Sorry, Dad. Definitely not. Now that we’re older, we see things differently.

Maybe you’ve had a change of perspective about God. When you were young or first became a Christian, you believed God could do anything, but now you doubt He can or will.

How do you reconcile the terrible evil in the world with a loving God who is strong enough to make a difference? Or to bring it down to a more personal level, if He is all-powerful, why won’t He take away just one of your stupid sin habits when you ask Him to?

These kinds of questions have plagued God’s people forever. Listen to the worship leader Asaph pour out his frustration:

“How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?” (Psalm 74:10–11)

There’s something about a good superhero movie that I love. Maybe it’s the clear distinction between good and evil or the way the superheroes face certain defeat but somehow always beat the odds to claim victory over the bad guys. (Maybe it’s just because I love explosions and wish I could fly.) But I think there’s more to it. Something about these stories resonates deep inside us. We all want to see love conquer hate. We all wish things could be made right as soon as possible.

Of course, even in the best superhero movies, good never beats evil right away. In fact, it usually takes a few sequels—and maybe a prequel—for the good guys to triumph.

This story-line approach to understanding God’s actions in this world has helped me a lot. The Bible tells us where the story started and where it will end. But right now we live in the in-between. Our world is a place of tension where evil still exists and where, even though the superhero has arrived on the scene, the battle rages on. We see the battle in our own lives and in our own hearts. No wonder we often feel an overwhelming tension that can make us just want to give up.

I challenge you to look for the story in your own life. Regardless of where you are at, ask God to give you eyes to see the world through His lens and learn to wait for rescue.