Saturday, November 17, 2018

God is Good

God is good.  Praise God.  Thank you Lord.  Those phrases have been a constant refrain over the last few days.  One of my sons, Jeremy, was involved in a very bad accident when he had a near head on collision with a semi.  The weather was bad that morning and there were many accidents.  I had no idea that my son would be among those involved in the accidents that morning.  A few days after the accident, we were buying some medical equipment and furniture for the house in preparation for Jeremy returning home from the hospital.  In our conversation with an employee, we talked about why we were buying the furniture.  After describing the accident and where it happened, she said that she and her kids had heard about his accident on the radio.  It was really bad.  The semi had to be towed away and Jeremy's pickup was smashed.  He was a little disappointed that his truck is totaled, but is more thankful that he himself is not totaled.  It will be a long recovery, but he is alive and still with us.  Jeremy said that he is so fortunate because it could have been so much worse than it was.  I told him that I do not know the name of his angel, but God had to have sent an angel to protect him during the crash.

God is good.  Yes he is.  But is he good because Jeremy survived?  Yes, most definitely.  But what if Jeremy had not survived the crash?   This thought hit me like a mac truck after the experience of seeing  Jeremy's smashed and twisted truck in the impound yard.  Even if Jeremy had not survived the crash, God is still good.  I had to ask myself would I still bless the name of the Lord as Job did?  Would I still say that God is good?  I am thankful that I do not have to answer that question from personal experience.  Regardless of how circumstances look on the surface, God is good.  He is on the throne, he allows things to happen, he makes things happen, and somehow in his infinite wisdom that is beyond our eyesight, he works things out for good.  Why? Because he is good. 

I am reminded of the 107th Psalm that says, "Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good.  His loyal love is everlasting.  Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so."  Some days it is easy to declare that he is good.  Other days it is harder and is more of a matter of faith.  However, regardless of how I feel about it, or how I understand it, God is good. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Teacher Fish

I recently read an article about the discovery of 3 new types of sea creatures that live in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  Evidently, they are previously unknown species of snailfish.  What is so unique about they are designed to live in a part of the ocean that few other creatures could survive in.  The article stated that they live in a trench in the bottom of the Ocean that is seven miles deep!  A submarine is able to only go about 2,000 feet deep.  They have very few predators because most other sea creatures are not capable of going that deep into the ocean.  The extreme pressure of the deep sea provides the environment for these unusual creatures to thrive in.  If they were to come to the surface, they would literally fall apart and melt.

Psalm 19 and Romans 1 tells us that the creation reveals to us something of the nature of God.  So what do these previously unknown creatures who live in the dark in an environment made for them tell us about God?  Maybe it is a reminder that each of us has our place and purpose in God's created order.  These unusual creatures have their unique place in the bottom of the ocean for whatever purpose they were created.  Maybe it is a reminder that we must live in the environment that God has created for us.  These creatures must remain in their environment, or they may be attacked by predators and fall apart from the lack of support of the deep sea pressure. If we do not remain in Christ, we will ultimately perish.  He provides protection, support, and life for us.  Maybe it is simply to remind us that God is infinite in his wisdom.  We never arrive.  There is always something more to discover and something more to learn.  Humility leaves us open to learning and enjoying new things. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Children of God

Someone once said that the most difficult teachings we sometimes relegate to kids stories.  This includes the stories of David and Goliath, Jonah, and the birth of Christ.  When you start to dig deeper into these stories, you find messages that are difficult to put into practice.  The theory is that relegating these to children's stories helps adults to avoid a heavy message.  I wonder if this is not also true with music? 

I think of Jesus Love Me as a children's song, but the message of the song is pertinent to all people.  Some people have trouble with believing that Jesus truly loves them.  I sometimes see adults sing this song less enthusiastically than other songs.  I have found myself looking around the room for children to sing this song toward them rather than toward other adults.  Is this only a kids song with a kid's message?  Then there is a line in the song, "I will henceforth live for thee," which in some song books has been toned down to "I will try to live for thee."  Is this children's song too demanding that some adult somewhere had to tone it down?  I sure would rather say to my wife, "I will love you all my days" rather than "I will try to love you all my days."  If I wouldn't say the latter to my wife, why would I say it to God?

I am also thinking of the song, Trust and Obey.  I remember singing this on the Joy Bus as a child, and in Sunday School.  I typically think of it as a children's song.  It is so simple with very simple and easy to sing music.  But why is this a children's song?  Perhaps it was an attempt to reinforce obedience in children?  But does the need to reinforce faithful obedience stop when a child becomes an adult?  Do adults not struggle with faith and obedience as well?  Do we not need to keep singing songs such as this as a simple reminder?  Why would we think this message too simple if we continue to struggle with faith and obedience?

Then there is Jesus Loves the Little Children.  This was a very popular song in children's church, on the bus, and Sunday School.  The simple reminder in this song is that Jesus loves everyone, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, age, or social status.  He "loves the little children of the world."  Is that not a message adults need to be continually reminded of?  How often to we adults need to relearn this message aimed at children? 

Maybe there's truth in the statement that some of the most difficult teachings of the Bible are relegated to children's messages.  That way, we feel as though we have moved past it and no longer have to deal with it.  But I wonder if it is more pride than anything else.  There are times when we need to be reminded of the simple basics.  The Bible calls us beloved "children" of God.  Therefore, his message is always pertinent to us.  We are never too old, big, or mature for his message.