Friday, August 12, 2016

Our Incomprehensible God

The news was very difficult to read, much less understand.  Why would God ordain such a thing?  It all seemed such a waste from a Kingdom perspective.

We, who are committed to biblical orthodoxy and thus know that the Sovereign Lord governs His universe with His almighty arm, cannot countenance the possibility that tragedies occur outside of His determined will.  Yet, sometimes, we are utterly at a loss to explain the divine rationale.

Over thirty years ago Dr. James Dobson published a book titled, When God Doesn’t Make Sense.  As Christians, if we are honest, we will admit that at times God’s ways utterly mystify us.

God declared through His prophet Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways … for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (55:9-10).  This truth was on bold display recently in Nebraska.

Just over a week ago the Pals family of five was killed in a car accident as they were on their way to train for missionary service in Japan.  Jamison and Kathryn, both 29, died with their three children: Ezra 3, Violet, 23 months, and Calvin, 2 ½ months.  An “inattentive and distracted” truck driver rammed “at a high rate of speed” into their minivan.  He is charged with five counts of felony motor vehicle homicide.

Three years ago, Jamison wrote a letter to Kathryne, encouraging her to embrace his vision of serving as a missionary in Japan.  He concluded, “It may costs us much, but would you have it any other way?  Whatever we lose will be worth it if we gain more of Christ …”  From an earthly perspective, the Pals lost everything.  But they now enjoy the presence of Christ, their mission having been completed.

God is glorified when His saints lay it all on the line in serving Him.  What may appear to be a setback is in reality another step forward.  Sinful, human irresponsibility redounds to the glory of God when Christians are seen serving Him selflessly and faithfully.  May God raise up, through their example, so many replacements for the Pals family that, in the end, much more will be accomplished to further the Kingdom than if the Pals had proceeded to Japan and served faithfully for decades.

God, give us faith to trust your plan … even when we "don’t get it."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Eight-second Flatline

Due to unexpected developments, I recently found myself in a hospital, being monitored by an electrocardiogram machine.  Suddenly, the staff sprang to action when they noticed that my heart rhythm had flatlined.  For a span of eight seconds I had no heartbeat, and the pulse remained very sporadic for another minute or so.  After the initial flatline, CPR was administered, bringing me back to consciousness.

Physically, this was a watershed event which will cast a lingering effect over the remainder of my earthly pilgrimage.  The subsequent installation of a pacemaker was meant to ensure that, should my heart again fail to generate sufficient, internal, electrical impulse to maintain a healthy pulse, the pacemaker will produce the necessary contraction of the heart muscle to send life-sustaining blood through the rest of my body.

Considered from a spiritual perspective, such traumatic events remind us just how tenuous life is in this world.  If my heart had not restarted, my soul would be in the presence of God, my body in the grave.  In light of the uncertainty and ultimate brevity of life, the New Testament urges us to “redeem the time” or, literally, to “buy up the opportunities.”  In other words, we are charged with making the best use of the days that God grants to us in this world.

Incessantly we must make decisions on how to use our time and resources. When we thoughtfully evaluate the relative importance of certain actions in light of eternity, such analysis will help us sort through the myriad of opportunities that confronts and potentially distracts us. Not every activity will equally redound to the glory of God.

May God grant wisdom to enable us to make choices that reflect our profession of faith.   Too many who bear the name Christian are bent on merely amassing earthly accomplishments, to the detriment of laying up treasure in heaven.  None of us know when his flatline will become permanent.