A friend recently posted a video of ISIS in several situations executing various groups of people who I guess were opposing combatants. I was deeply disturbed by the video and was left asking myself “so barbaric, how could anybody do that?” As I was contemplating this video it came to me that Israel, under the direct command of God Himself, was ordered to “kill every man, woman and child” (I Sam. 15) which I also find disturbing.
So for all of you who feel like you don’t get it and can’t serve a god who would “do things like that” or “allow thus and so tragedy” I want you to know that I understand where you are coming from because I don’t exactly get it either.
And just for the record, I don’t understand how a loving God could allow such a dedicated servant as Bro. Bill to suffer so much at the end of his life. Neither do I understand why so many prayers go unanswered – including my own. And why does the church in America seem so impotent? I, for the most part, simply don’t know and don’t understand. But what I do understand is being able to focus on the testimony of the life Bro. Bill lived and the prayers I have witnessed answers to (including my own). And I can garner hints from scripture (Mal. 2:13-17) that the prayers of the church may not be answered because of the high percentage of divorce amongst His people. And for the most part, those reasons feel somewhat academic.
And in light of a recent video of Victoria Osteen which has garnered a lot of blow back, do I serve Him for Him or for me. That’s perhaps an even tougher question. I answered her comments with “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe – Creator, Savior, Master, Lord – I obey because He is, not because I am” and I believe that with all my heart because Jesus in the garden submitted in obedience to a very hard thing because He preferred the Father’s desires over His own. But as my wife pointed out to me this morning from Heb. 12:2 the reason Jesus (also) obeyed and endured the path to the cross was because of the joy and happiness He knew it would bring Him. I’m not sure I totally get that either.
So here is the end of the matter for me – do I serve Him because He is the all powerful Creator who has the power with half of a thought to destroy me and all mankind or do I serve Him because He knew me in my mother’s womb and knows how much hair I have? Do I serve Him because of the sacrifice of His Son for our sins or do I serve Him because He as the Potter and I the clay He can make me a special plate for kings or just as easily a chamber pot for slaves? Am I devoted to Him because I have known His loving embrace in time of trouble or because at times I feel as though He is not involved in my daily life? Is he worthy because of what I perceive as harsh judgment on individuals or entire people groups or because He shows mercy to someone who I see as unworthy.
I am left with nothing else but the answer being YES to all the above.