What's Inside

The theological ramblings of a simple man.

Wisdom

Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.

Dean Koontz



"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

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Monday, July 19, 2010
Thinking God can fix everything
My wife was pulled over last week. She was clocked doing 50 in a 35. To complicate the traffic stop our car has one tail light out, and we did not have current proof of insurance in the vehicle (our policy is current... the proof is not). Bekah drove away with a warning on the speed, a fixit ticket for the light, and a ticket for the insurance that can be negated as soon as current proof is presented to the courthouse.

I’m not that lucky. In the time that we’ve known each other, Bekah has been pulled over six times with only two tickets. I’ve been pulled over twice with one ticket. Prior to our lives together, Bekah’s story is littered with anecdotes of getting out of tickets when pulled over. In my entire driving history, I’ve been stopped eight times with a grand total of five tickets. Bekah has been pulled over many more times than me – with a wider array of driving infractions – but has received far fewer tickets.

The tail light in our car is still out of commission. So it would be logical for me to be a bit paranoid yesterday when an officer followed me on the way home from Hauser Lake.

I had passed the Prairie Falls golf course and was heading up the hill on Prairie Avenue. In my rearview mirror I noticed a police cruiser on the far side of the golf course – about a half mile behind me. Nothing to fear, but the officer caught up with me in less than a minute. I had my cruise control set to the speed limit, so the cop had to be driving at least 10 miles an hour over the limit to catch me that quickly. Now there was a slight reason to be nervous. Then he tailgated me for most of the next two miles.

Nervous is a weak adjective to describe my emotional well being at that moment in time. I was sure he would pull me over; I was waiting for him to turn on his roof-top lights.

My first instinct was to change the radio station. Maybe, if I listened to the Christian music station and concentrated on how God is really awesome, I won’t get pulled over.

Silly, right? That way of thinking is absurd, but how often do we do that? How often do we think of God as a salve or a life-saver? There’s a predominate thought that God can fix anything – that He can save us from our mistakes. But of course he can – He’s God. The ever-present, all knowing, all powerful God can do anything. Why does it sound ridiculous to say “God can prevent the inevitable”?

There’s a delicate balance between having faith that can move mountains and having a faith that is dead from a lack of action. There’s a difference that separates the person who calls on the name of the Lord and is saved, and the person how cries “Lord Lord” but is turned away. We misunderstand the complexities of a God who grants the desires of our hearts and the God who cares for our every need.

If we don’t understand these fine lines, we fall into a trap of thinking that God will only help us if we do x, y, or z. Or we falter in belief that God will prevent us from experiencing the consequence of our mistakes. Both ends of the spectrum underestimate God’s grace.

We don’t have to jump through hoops to experience his love. The radio station I was listening to had no impact on the police officers decision whether or not to pull me over. There are no special circumstances that need be met before God answers prayer. God is God and the power of his grace is bigger than we could ever define. There is nothing we could ever do, no amount of steps we could take to deserve His grace. If it was within our power to earn it, it wouldn’t be called grace.

But at the same time, God loves us enough to let us fail, to let us hurt, and to discipline us. We are under refinement and it is through trials and tribulation, through our mistakes and flaws that we grow. If we are never wounded or never experience pain, we would not ever experience or understand the depths of His grace. Without any consequence for our own stupidity, we may never see a need for God.

I wasn’t stopped or ticketed. The officer followed me for a little more than three miles before he turned onto a side street. I was able to drive home in peace without any interaction with Idaho’s State Patrol. But I also felt a little sheepish for thinking that my choice in radio station would change the outcome of my circumstances or convince God to save me from the consequences of driving with a busted tail light.

The officer could have been off duty. Or realized that I was obeying the speed limit and figured it wasn’t worth the effort to pull me over for the tail light. Or maybe he ran my plates and saw we received the fixit ticket on Friday and there wasn’t ample opportunity to fix the light by Sunday afternoon. Or it could be that God just did whatever he was going to do because he had my best interest at heart.
posted by nicholas casey @ 5:49 PM   0 comments
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