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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Counterfeit Compassion of Culture

Credit: Cover of
Cover of

Fact of the matter is, God does wag a "No . . . No. . . No . . . “ finger in our faces. We just ignore it and say we didn't hear Him.

Where is God? ...Go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double-bolting on the inside. After that, silence.”– C.S. Lewis, after the death of his wife.

God is omni-present; but it seems every now and then He is omni-absent. The sign on the door says "Gone Fishing," the lights are out, the doorbell dings in an empty room, the No Vacancy sign is on . . . drive on down the road . . . alone. Yes, I know that is not true; He never leaves me; He never leaves you. He’s right there.

How can Someone as magnificent as God be there . . . and we be so unaware?

Wasn't He there, in the Garden of Eden, right after Adam and Eve's encounter with the serpent? His Word says God came walking up in the cool of the day. Surely He was also there in the heat of the moment. Yet He didn't clear his throat and wag his finger and say "Ummm . . . Eve . . no, no, no." So Eve did, did, did and we've been done for since.

God was oddly silent as the sin unfolded and then clearly loud as the consequences unraveled the beautiful original intentions of existence.

I'll admit that it bothers me a bit to know that God is with us before we slip into the comfort zone of our sinful nature and, with all the power of the universe at His disposal, watches us tumble, twist and turn on the way down, and hit the bottom with a gut-wrenching and bone-jarring thud. Then comes out in the cool of the day as if He had not seen it all happen. Is He really a "what's up?" God?

No.

“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” -- Psalm 27:14

But we don't want to wait. We want to act. We want to meet a . . . need? We want!

How many of us, when we are dialing a number we shouldn't know; turning into an area we shouldn't go, logging on to a website we shouldn't see, acting like someone we shouldn't be . . . say to ourselves: "Wait . . . Let me ask God about this?"

It's easy to say He's not speaking when we're not pausing. It's pure spiritual finger-pointing to say He's not responding when we're not reflecting.

I think sometimes we think we might prefer a "No . . . No . . . No . . ." wagging-a-warning finger God. And we would of course gently lay down our pride, sweep aside our defiance, thank Him profusely for keeping us from falling, pledge our undying trust and obey without question. Or perhaps we would eat of the fruit; gain the knowledge we do not need; satisfy the glutton side of our spirit and waddle into our all-too-familiar rescue me mode.

Fact of the matter is, God does wag a "No . . . No. . . No. . . “ finger in our faces. We just ignore it and say we didn't hear Him. Are we actually expecting God to sit by our bedside and read His Word aloud to us at night?

My son, do not forget My teaching, but keep My commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. -- Proverbs 3:1-7

OK . . . we’ll do that. But . . . remind us. Okay, God? We just might forget.

Oops . . . that was how the verse began: "do not forget." And it asks us to "keep." Keep what? Those commands we so easily tossed to lighten the load as we traveled down the me-want road. And . . . oh yeah . . . He wanted us to write "love and faithfulness" on the tablets of our hearts. But . . . that's my heart. There's not much writing room left; I've done a lot of scribbling and mark-outs through the years trying to satisfy the longings of my heart.

Of course then He wants us to trust. Trust the Creator or lust for the creation? Tough choices we face in this life. He says if we trust Him instead of ourselves . . . He will take all those crooked detours, jagged fault lines, dangerous drop-offs, and impossible mountains . . . those cliffs . . . out of our paths and make them "straight." We're not talking sexual semantics here . . . we're talking direction . . . which certainly can lead to some serious sexual semantics.

So what else does this "silent" God, who watches us once again slam a door in haste, have to say? He says for us not to be wise in our own eyes. Who knew that the pursuit of wisdom could be so dangerous? Well . . . Eve, I guess, in retrospect. Adam, too. And, oh yes, the serpent. They all learned it, but God knew it all along. Surely God doesn't want us to just be stupid? We’d get into so much trouble. Oh . . . yeah. That.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. -- I Corinthians 1:25

I remember driving out onto a lonely hill at the edge of the town I grew up in, seeing the lights in the distance and thinking of each of them as a porch light in a home where everything was right and good, every body tucked in for the night, every heart satisfied, every mind at rest, every soul at peace.

Lacking the courage to call out to God, I repeated instead within my mind what all was not right with my world . . . my home . . . my heart . . . my soul . . . my peace. And those words echoed within the emptiness . . . and brought me heartache. I had come to the hill alone . . . and remained there alone . . . and departed alone. My choice.

We may come to the garden alone . . . but we shouldn't leave that way. He is so accessible, but He might want us to linger a little longer than we want. So, we dash and slam. "Oops . . . sorry."

What must really be difficult for God -- if anything could ever be so labeled -- is to hear the echoes of His own Word as it descends into our valleys and reverberates against the emptiness we feel as we seek to satisfy our selves with increasing self-absorption. We want to move that mountain, cross that valley, swim that ocean . . . and then . . . when totally satiated, cry out "Where were you, God?"

With you.

I know sometimes it seems we are all alone in whatever battle has worked to separate us from His love, whatever temptation has tattered our goodness, whatever sin has led to our shunning. But we are never alone. We would not, could not, will not be alone.

Having trouble finding your own way out of your mess? Tempted to blame God, declaring Him absorbed in some sort of Solitaire while you slowly slip away?

Maybe we would hear more . . . if we would open a few doors here and there instead of slamming them as we proceed to and fro on our own. Maybe if we played a little less hide-and-seek, put away a few must-see and must-have distractions -- the pursuit of happiness as defined by culture -- and paused at the table, talked to Him, listened to Him, pulled out the chair, sat down . . . and waited.

Like He asked us to do in the first place. Remember:

“Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” -- Psalm 27:14

You know, that's what I always wanted: to be strong, to have courage. And He said I could. If I would wait for Him.

Next time you find yourself feeling the pain of self-induced pity at your pitiful plight of weakness in the face of temptation, remember: Wait. Be strong. Take courage.

Wait.

We don't do that very well, do we? Waiting. Waiting on the Lord. In the face of a nagging want . . . we choose not to wait for Him to speak first. We don’t ask; we proceed, usually with little caution. We follow the lead of a swallow-up, smother-down culture which promises enlightenment and satisfaction, leaving us later to stumble, dazed and damaged, into the light to face the daunting question: “Who told you you were naked?”

Choosing to follow is a day-to-day decision which can lead us to victory or defeat, restoration or repetition, onto a straight path or into an endless cycle.

God is never silent. He spoke it all, in advance of every question.

God Bless,

Thom

(READER'S SPECIAL: Thank you for reading the introduction from my new book, "Who Told You You Were Naked?" The Counterfeit Compassion of Culture. The book is available now from Amazon.com and will soon be available for e-readers and in bookstores. Please help me launch the book. Use the following link and put the code in at checkout for a 20% discount off the retail price.)

Link: Amazon.com Code LF4DCNHS



About the Writer

Thom Hunter is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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