Friday, March 14, 2014

What Were You Looking For?

A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.

A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”

As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”

The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”

The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.

A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, "Grab my hand and I will pull you up!" But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”

Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.

When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”

And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

We’ve all been there. We cry out to God for help, deliverance, salvation, comfort, but he is nowhere to be found. Or was He there all along? He sent a priest, then a friend kept showing up offering to help, a couple of buddies told us about this support group, “out of the blue” someone mailed us a book or a DVD  … yet we stayed on our knees begging God to come to our aid.

Read the scriptures: Divine, “face to face” encounters are incredibly rare. What we do see, however, are divine appointments with people whom God sent to speak to us, to serve us, to get us out of harm’s way before we drowned.

It’s easy to say, “I am trusting God in God alone.” It’s all quite spiritual sounding but actually displays a misunderstanding as to the ways of God.

God: Wilson, do you trust me?

Wilson: Yeah verily and spiritually I do, most Sovereign-eth and Loving-eth God! (Throwing in the Old English ought to impress Him.)

God: Then trust me to use that person over there for your welfare.

Wilson: Now wait just a minute Lord: her? (Believe me here: God has a tremendous sense of humor, as the “help” He sends is often the last person we want to talk to.)

Throughout Israel’s history, God sent people (Prophets) to point them in the direction of wisdom and spiritual health. They were pretty much always treated as pariah. Of course, if you are like me, when you read these stories you think to yourself, “What a bunch of idiots: I would have listened!”

That’s what the Pharisees said to Jesus. Remember?

Jesus: And you say, “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” (Matthew 23)

He then goes on and tells them they surely would have stoned those men, and, to prove it, they were going to kill the very Son of God who comes in God’s name.

He closes his rebuke with this terrifying declaration: “You aren’t going to see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who come in the name of the Lord.’” You Pharisees want to see God? You had better welcome and bless me.

I don’t want to make this passage say more than what is actually being said. This is all about Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I do believe there is a spiritual principle here. We cry out to God to come to us. He sends him, her, or them, to help us. If we want to see Him, if we want His aid, comfort, and wisdom, it’s a pretty good idea to face these people and say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Come right in!” Of course, we can always die, trusting in God alone. But then there’s that uncomfortable conversation with Him where He points to whom all He sent our way and asks, “What were you looking for?”

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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