I ran into a statement the other day that knocked me back on my fundament (isn’t that clever? I managed to not use the words, “butt,” or worse, “ass,” and thereby avoided offending anybody).
The discussion had to do with Jesus, and trust — or more accurately, our tendency to not trust in Him by questioning His motives and true love for us.
“It’s important to trust Jesus,” one person said. “So important, that when we don’t, He walks away from us for awhile until we come to our senses and look for Him.”
“You mean that He leaves the room?”
“Well, yes, basically. But it’s for our own good.”
Pick up Your Jaw, Please
When I told this to a friend, he — once he picked his jaw up off the sidewalk — related to me a recent event that happened at the park when he took his granddaughter to play.
“She was in the little plastic play car, her imagination driving her off to far places,” he said, “and for some senseless, ludicrous reason, I thought it would be funny to hide behind a tree. I figured that she’d laugh and call out for me.
“She didn’t. She stopped everything she was doing, and if I had been a mile away, I could have spotted the panic in her eyes. I immediately stepped out and she ran to me.
“‘I thought you’d left me,’ were her first words, and oddly, my reply was along the lines of, ‘I would never leave you or forsake you.'”
You are NEVER Alone
God says that a lot, you know. Many of us know, and are comforted by, God’s words to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31: 6,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified . . . for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
He won’t stay behind the tree, and He won’t leave the room, but we have a really, really difficult time accepting this because, in some warped way, we associate God’s discipline of us with pain, hurt, heartache, and rejection.
We Tend to Hurt One Another
Maybe it’s because, as humans, our notion of disciplining our children involves castigation and humiliation: we swipe soap in their mouths for saying a word like “fundament.” We strap them with a strop, all in the name of applying the “rod” (what are we thinking? A STICK?) We humiliate them by making them stand in a corner, in full view of everyone else in the room.
With these disciplinary techniques in our arsenal, it’s no wonder that we fear — quite literally, FEAR — God, and walk around in trepidation that our least misstep will exasperate and infuriate Him to the point that He walks out of the room so He won’t beat us up.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 11: 28-29, and before you hitch yourself to the plow and wait for the whip on your back, read the rest:
“I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Love Never Fails, or Abandons
We are human. We will mess up. We have difficulty comprehending and understanding a loving, accepting, merciful God because quite frankly, we don’t have a lot of appropriate role models to look to down here: Jesus is the ultimate role model, but it takes a lifetime of walking with Him to begin to understand just how patient He is.
The Apostle Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3: 18-19 that we will
” . . . grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
This kind of love — it doesn’t walk away.
And it’s also not something that we can grasp, understand, or accept on our own. Jesus Himself teaches us who and what He is, and by His own words He is gentle and humble in heart.
We don’t have to be afraid of Someone like this.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I look at what we’re told and taught in the general religious marketplace, and compare it to what I see when I open my Bible. Of course I’m not right all the time — no human being is — but it’s important that individual Christians recognize our right, and responsibility, to question what we are taught, and to maintain a strong, close, vibrant, personal relationship with Christ.
He is our ultimate teacher.
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