Wednesday, April 2

Whitewashing the realization of a broken world.

"In My wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in My anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 13:13-14 (NIV)

God is love. Forget who you were, you are made a new creature and the old has passed away into the forgotten realm of the past. God loves you so much that He wants you to be happy and content, blessed in abundance untold, and overflowing with good tidings. All you have to do is change the way you think and all will be well with life.

Until the first storm comes raging through your world; a child dies from a cancer that suddenly appears, a parent is killed in a building destroyed by terrorists, whole countries abandoned to the rages of war and disease, or (to borrow a phrase) LIFE happens.

And we become embittered, broken, and angry people who once worshipped a God who we thought loved us enough that anything we experienced would be easily deflected by the knowledge that His plans were not to harm us, but to prosper us. We have been told that by mighty and spiritual leaders in those moments that we sat in the comfortable seats in the mega auditorium of the 'local' church. And we believed it, because we don't need to know God any better than that.

But with love, comes wrath. With righteousness, comes indignation. With holiness, comes anger. The incomplete picture that we allow ourselves to have of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob brings us to our knees not in prayerful joy and peace, but in indignation and anger to a God that would allow such events to flatten the world we know and to bring such sorrow into a heart already burdened.

The church has whitewashed the walls of a crumbling theology of "Love, Love, Love" and an immediate gratification world for its members. It promotes the God of Love to the seekers already sorrowed by a world gone mad, by issues and causes that seem empty in their effectiveness, and wars that ravage the population it surrounds. They tone down the heaviness of fighting against our sinful nature, ignore the wrath and judgment of God, and connect with a shallow standoffish attitude to the reality of life with painful experiences, and past conflict.

Then comes a violent wind, a parent who loves God and has brought his children up the same way dies of cancer---- not in a few years, but within days of diagnosis. Then comes hailstones within that wind; a child of three temporarily out of sight of her parents is abducted and killed by a family friend. And in rages the heavy rain; the job that you clung to in an increasingly competitive job market is lost right as you face foreclosure on your home or eviction from your apartment.

And you are destroyed; your faith a joke upon the cosmic landscape of the universe.

You rage against God and the lies that seem so real yesterday.

You turn your back upon God and say 'No thanks, if this is the best You can do.'

The structurally unsound, whitewashed walls of your life collapse on the ground, broken and ruined beyond all repair.

And as you lie strewn across the broken, battered, and utter devastation that once was your life, your heart cries out more loudly, more insistently "There MUST be something more than this!"

If you listen hard to the silence that endures there, you will hear His voice. If you stand still within the once proud example of your faith and listen, He will talk to you.

"I am the LORD." His voice will whisper in the ache of your soul, "Come and feel My comfort; abide in the peace that circumstances cannot control. My love will carry you home, My strength will allow you to endure when you cannot endure."

Beyond all human understanding, our faith will carry us home. Beyond all reasoning by secular means, we have the key to peace in troubled waters.

If we would only truly believe in the complete God, instead of a fashioned idol of our own making.

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