During opening devotions at the Tuesday morning prayer meeting, Agnes told us a question she asked God when she was a child. “Why didn’t you make me so I wouldn’t sin?” If even a little one, lacking in life’s experience, has such a profound question, imagine what adults could ask.
On an internet forum, someone raised the issue why didn’t God just wipe the slate and start over again, when Adam and Eve disobeyed and brought down the curse of sin and death on all creation. Or, backing up to Lucifer’s rebellion, why didn’t God just squash that old fox in the first place? Another poster, my internet friend Mike Davenport, laid out the most satisfactory answer I’ve ever read.
As Mike explained, such an event was a challenge to God’s divine sovereignty. All the heavenly host watched to see the drama unfold. Certainly they knew God was all powerful and could annihilate His creation with a single word. But, power is only one of God’s attributes and He didn‘t need to demonstrate a show of force. In His loving mercy, God desired to expose, once and for all, that men and angels exist only by God‘s design. And, apart from Him, we can do nothing to provide for our needs, let alone have any basis for taking over His position! If anyone thinks “I will be like the most high God!” in effect defying the sovereignty of the Almighty, that individual needs to learn an unforgettable lesson. God would allow man to prove to himself that he is totally incapable of self-rule.
And so, as we review history, we see all the alternate forms of rulership that humanity has tried. From judges, priests, and kings to philosophies, theocracies and democracy, from monarchy to anarchy, nothing substitutes for God’s sovereignty. In Mike’s words, “Nobody will ever be able to say that God did not give man enough time to try everything…Do you believe that the problems we now face are even within the possibility of human solution?”
Mike’s words bring to mind two signposts from Scripture: the great image of a man from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and the scene from the foot of Calvary’s cross. In the first, God revealed to Daniel how this image depicts all the kingdoms of the world, all possible forms of government man might try in ruling the world over time. To see the second, however, we must turn around 180 degrees to witness Emmanuel, God with us, not ruling, but serving humanity in a way that only God can do. Recognizing the difference, we understand something of the depth of Jesus’ words when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Ruling, from man’s perspective, is gaining power to control the lives of others. In God’s eyes, His kingdom is just the opposite.
'But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”' ---Matthew 20:25-28 ESV
I find Mike’s insights ringing true to me, and more. They bring me comfort. Rebellion must run its course until we all agree that we are helpless in trying to achieve control even over ourselves, to say nothing of dominion over others.
Which brings us to another “Why?” When we ask God why even the best among us can suffer so much, we remember that we are the body of Christ. As we suffer with Him, and bear one another’s burdens in caring for those in need, we become a reminder of Calvary’s signpost, a witness to the world of the One whose suffering stands as the beacon of hope for a dying creation.
'But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.' 1 Peter 4:13 ESV
'…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.' Hebrews 12:2 ESV
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If Christ had to suffer, who are we to complain when we have to suffer our little woes? It is through our pain that we most offer minister to others, isn't it?
As we suffer with Him, and bear one another’s burdens in caring for those in need, we become a reminder of Calvary’s signpost, a witness to the world of the One whose suffering stands as the beacon of hope for a dying creation. Great insightful truth. Thanks for sharing. In Christ's Love, Julia