Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Live is Christ — trusting when I do not understand

Two members of a cult came to my door yesterday. One talked and the other, obviously in training, stood and listened. Instead of trying to get rid of them, I let the older woman talk and learned some interesting things.

Most significant was that their organization puts much value on human reasoning. She said that God gave us the ability to think and understand. Therefore, what a person believes has to be totally rational and make sense.

I suggested that God does not ask us to figure it all out, but to simply trust Him. I said faith is more about the One we believe it than it is about my brain power. I trust God because He is trustworthy, even when I don’t understand what He is doing or what He asks of me. If faith depended on understanding, I would not trust Him at all because His ways are higher than mine, and because my brain is dulled because of sin.

This concept of trusting God simply because He is God was foreign to her. She insisted otherwise. She repeatedly questioned how could anyone trust what they did not understand. First it had to make sense.

In the Bible, Abraham is called the ‘father of faith.’ When God asked him to leave his home and go to a far country, he went — without knowing where he was going. When God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the son he loved, he took the lad up the mountain and tied him on an altar — without knowing that this was a faith-test and that God would intervene and stop him. Did any of this make sense?

Of course not. The ‘father of faith’ did not have a clue why God asked him to do these things. That did not stop him from believing and obeying. I told her biblical faith is not about understanding it all first.

My verses today are about the omnipresence of God. In context, these are God’s words to false teachers. He says . . . 

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. . . . Am I a God at hand,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16, 23–24)
A couple of days ago God showed me that those who speak falsely are trying to hide from God. They do not want to give up their sins, so instead of listening to the good news of repentance and forgiveness and the gospel of grace, they try to hide from truth behind their false teaching.

But no one can hide from God. I cannot hide my pride, sinful motives, or any secret thought. God knows me inside out. He knows all that I do and say and think. This concept might scare some people who are trying to hide from Him, but for me, His presence is a great comfort. I was glad for it yesterday too.

I have mixed emotions about cult members. On one hand, I’m angered at the deception that holds them in its grip and that they perpetuate on to others. On the other hand, I wish I could convince them that they are missing the truth and are in bondage to their fears and to the organization they represent.

Yet I know my appeals to their intellect or any reasoning with their ideas is not God’s way. He fills heaven and earth. His Spirit can soften hard hearts and flood sinners with truth. No one can escape God. Should He decide to show mercy and reveal truth, no one can hide from Him. If He decides to open their eyes, there is no escape. Once it is done, darkness is gone forever.

My prayer for these, and for anyone else who is trying to hide from God, is that the Lord reveals Himself to them and shows them the frailty and sinful pride in their brain power. Besides, He is not interested in what we have. He only desires that we be like little children and receive what He has for us.

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