Unless you were in my AWANA class last week, that title probably evokes a funny image without a back story.
So, here’s the story: a friend’s grandchildren live in Alaska. Two Sundays ago, the oldest was sledding in their yard and her squealing scared a young bull moose which attacked her. As the moose tried to trample her and the dogs tried to chase him away, God stepped in. And thank the Lord, the bull’s hooves never hit her…because the moose slipped on the sled she had been using. How about that? If God can protect a little girl from a moose using a sled, is there anything He cannot do or use for the good of His children?
I am convinced that most of the time we do not even know the depths of God’s protection or care because it is shown simply in the absence of the tragedy. Nine times out of ten, we don’t even know that we should be praying and that last tenth time – we don’t know what to pray for (Romans 8:26). I would have asked for the moose to be elsewhere. Or for the moose to be scared and run away. Or for a beautiful girl moose to lumber along at just the right moment...or something like that. But God had better ideas. No one prayed for protection but God answered anyway. He would go with this little girl (as He always does) and give her a point in her life to look back on and say: “This is what God did for me!”
Christ taught us not to worry by saying, “If God cares for the birds that roam the parking lots, don’t you think He will care for you?” (My Revised Version) Maybe it would also be fair to say, “Hey, don’t worry – if God can make a moose slip on a sled, what won’t He do for your good?”
In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. – Luke 11:48 (Acts 7:51-52)
People of each generation arrogantly believe that if they were given the opportunity of their ancestors they wouldn’t have made their mistakes. They delude themselves – they would have. And I would have. We would have been racist because it is in all of our hearts to make ourselves “better” than others. We would have slaughtered those who did not support the new regime because we all “know best”. We would have exploited the weak because we are all consistently self-centered.
Yes, many judge the ideals, actions, attitudes, and beliefs of prior generations harshly. But we are truly the same as “they” are, whether “they” are the people from 700 years ago or our neighbors next door. The woman who goes out and gets pregnant because she is running out of time. I would do that. It is in my heart to get what I want. In fact, I find inside myself the same desires that lead (dare I say?) to every sin man has ever committed. The prostitute who sells herself. The man unsatisfied with women. Would I champion for the death of a good man who rejected me? I could. All that, resides in me. Push others down to stand higher. Oppress those who are weaker to feel power. Stand silently by when others do immoral things. I would do all that. Except For Jesus.
Maybe when St. Augustine wrote his confessions he was seeing not the sin itself but rather the capacity for sin that is irresolvable. It lurks in us. Lust. Greed. Hate. Name it. It is there. And worse, it is before a HOLY God (who can comprehend that?). Perfection. It’s all or nothing, no small sins – one sin makes you a sinner separated from Perfection by forever. We seek to please this God, but when I look inside, I know it is not possible. Praise God He has interposed to save all who will accept and follow Jesus as Savior and God!
Those two words often bring a contented sigh: “What a great story.” Or an incredulous gasp: “It can’t end there!”
One the best things for those looking to be entertained is not knowing the end. Why else would we call it a “spoiler”?
But for those who are truly invested (such as I am with my NFL team), knowing the end makes the story or the game even more enjoyable because fear is removed. If I know my Bills have won the game, I can watch without sweating the broken plays, fumbles, interceptions, and blown calls because I know ultimately – we win. And (really) how much is a football game worth?
Well, guess what? We have the greatest spoiler ever! Here is the trailer version:
The Rightful Ruler of this world is Jesus Christ. He came the first time as a humble Servant, Shepherd and Savior. When He returned to heaven, He promised to return in power and glory. Only this time He would be flanked by armies of angels – who will never have to fight because at word of Jesus, which created the world, the world will be again subjugated to the Lord as it was created to be (Philippians 3:21). The rebels will be banished never to rise again. The redeemed will be revealed never put to shame again. Perfection will be restored forever and a day.
That knowledge should result in a cascade of fruit. Peace – God is sovereign. Hope – heaven is guaranteed. Joy – look what you are promised to inherit! Right priorities – we know what matters in the end. Telling and encouraging others – maybe they would like that peace or hope or joy?
This is not a new argument. Peter and Paul both beat me by about 2,000 years (1 Peter 1:3-9 and Romans 8:16-18). For all their differences, they came to the same conclusion: There is nothing in this life to be compared to the gain of heaven.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18
It is worth it…all.
What is wrong with you?
Sometimes God gives us glimpses of His perspective, small snapshots of wisdom. Those moments when you think: God must feel this way sometimes. Maybe with your children.
Like while I was watching my nephews at Christmastime. They often completely over looked the toy, impressed by the plastic and cardboard packaging.
Or at your job.
I want great things for the kids I teach, in life and especially in their walk with Jesus. But they are too busy goofing off with things that won’t matter in 30 seconds let alone in 30 years.
Or (at least for me) with my patients.
She was in considerable pain. I wanted to give her IV pain medication. But no, she repeatedly asked for oral medication – because it was faster, she said. Too impatient to wait, she got oral medication that didn’t work before getting the IV medication which did. I had wanted to give her better, but it wasn’t fast enough for her.
I think God must feel like this with me sometimes. But, nah, would I ever be impatient? Easily distracted? Or impressed by the wrong things? No way…
Practicing for Victory
Isaiah 30:21 -- Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.
I was at one of my favorite places to be: a used book sale :0)!. I couldn’t resist. I found a Bible study on finding God’s will. An old desire leapt to life… only for God to finally drive home the truth.
For many years I have wanted and diligently sought revelation – massive revelation of where God wanted me to take my life. But the truth is: God’s will is not a secret. I wanted it to be. I was looking for something that once I discovered it, the rest of my life would be prescripted and I would know exactly what I was doing. But that is not how it works.
We are called to practice for victory. “God’s will” is not a sudden spiritual epiphany. It is not a flash of spiritual brilliance. You “find” God’s will just by daily knowing Him and practicing His known desires for your life. If you practice God’s will in the small things every day you are ready to do His will in the “big things” in life. I call this practicing for victory.
One decision at a time. People tried to tell me that – but I couldn’t understand through my preconceptions what they were getting at. God only reveals a single step at a time (and expects obedience to what has already been given). God guides our decisions as we seek Him and molds us and our decisions as we move forward in life to glorify Him (see Isaiah 30:22). Many, myself included at various times, stop moving when they stop “feeling” God’s leading. Don’t. Seek God and move, trusting His promises to guide.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.