Who Can Make Straight What God Has Made Crooked?
At this point in the presidential election it feels like I’m watching a waitress pour me coffee without stopping.
It’s overflowing everywhere and I want it to stop.
Anyone else feel politically fatigued? Like everyone just needs to take a nap and then regroup in a year.
Probably what encourages this type of tiredness is that, if we’re still talking about pouring coffee, there are no shortage of social media outlets trying to pour into my cup what they think.
I’ll admit that I have a choice to wave them off and kindly say, “No thanks! I’m good.” But, I don’t always, even when I know it’s going to leave me feeling the pains of being a social media glutton.
So in this day and age, there are no shortage of posts, tweets, articles, and blogs (irony) that are going around. I think most of them are the same, some may be varied, I can’t really tell you because it’s too much to consume and most of the time I struggle to not click and scroll to the main point.
I need to get better at that. :/
A few months ago I wrote a post about why I shouldn’t worry if Trump becomes president. While I hold to what I said, I also realize that I didn’t capture the possibilities of what could happen should Trump become president. I won’t go in to those here, but suffice to say there are a lot of legitimate concerns, questions, and even fears from what either candidate would do once in office.
Perhaps in my own processing of everything, and that as a believer and follower of Jesus, I’ve wondered why the shortage of posts, tweets, articles on the indestructible hope we have in Jesus. Yes, let’s be engaged, but have we stopped to check the motives of our hearts as we engage?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
That verse will brighten up your morning!
But it’s God’s truth that the heart is tricky, and I’ve seen that with the motives of my engagement. Sometimes it’s been done out of fear. I’ve found myself placing my trust in a potential candidate, not liking either of them, and falling into a type of underlying depression with the subject.
“There’s no hope! Everyone sucks. We’re screwed.”
Sometimes it’s been done out of hope. It’s only been by God’s grace through his Word to remind me that the ways of the Lord are not only perfect, but can’t be stopped.
“Consider of the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?”
God’s Word has also reminded me that I won’t always fully comprehend why God chooses to do what he does.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
This actually should be a relief, because for all my confidence in myself and my plans, I still have trouble finding my keys every morning.
These verses are not wishful promises or horoscope clippings from the newspaper. These are eternal truths from the very mouth of God (2 Tim. 3:16).
So as a Christian we can and should be engaging, as we fight for justice, seek the good of our neighbor, and of the city we live in (Isa. 1:16–17). But whether it’s the thrills of victory, the lamenting of injustice, frustration and sadness, as Christians we must ask the Spirit to remind our hearts time and time again that we do these things not without hope.
Paul writing to the early church in Thessalonica, says this:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep; that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
(1 Thess. 4:13–14)
The Thessalonica church was experiencing persecution, and even the death of men and women professing Christianity.
I can’t imagine what this was like.
But Paul, filled with the Spirit, encourages them by pointing them to Jesus.
Paul doesn’t say, “Don’t grieve! What are you doing?! You’re not acting like Christians.”
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep; that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thess. 4:13)
Because Paul was only able to spend a limited amount of time with these men and women he was not able to fully walk through everything in the Scriptures that he wanted to with them (Acts 17:1–10).
Which is why he sends his faithful brother Timothy shortly after his departure:
“…and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions.”
(1 Thess. 3:2–3)
As Christians, are we operating as if we’re uninformed? Uninformed of the fullness of the Gospel and the truths of God’s Word. Where is our heart in our fear, grieving, posting and commenting?
A bigger question I’ve been convicted by is “Why aren’t I praying more?”
If we’re talking about ways to engage justice, the good of our neighbor, city, this election and the future, isn’t this surely one of the, if not the most significant way I can engage as a Christian?
It’s a cute and powerful illustration to say that Christians have a telephone to God, and we can call on him whenever we want.
While we can talk with the Lord whenever and wherever, the Lord is with every believer in Jesus by grace through faith at this very moment.
“In [Jesus] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
When you begin reading Acts 12, the early church had already tasted persecution for the bold proclamation of the Gospel. There had already been lives laid down for this Good News.
Within a few verses into the chapter and you read about James (a disciple of Jesus) killed, his brother imprisoned (another disciple of Jesus), and then Peter (another disciple of Jesus) thrown in prison too.
One of my favorite quotes from Toy Story is the conversation between Woody and Buzz, as they’ve found themselves in a dire situation.
Buzz says, “Sheriff, this is no time to panic.” And Woody responds:
Do you think there was reason to panic? Can you imagine the conversations at work, with friends, on social media? “What are we going to do?!” “This is scary!”
There was legitimate fear. A type of fear that I confess I’ve not experienced before, but a fear that I don’t think is too far off from the currents sweeping through the hearts of most men and women recently.
Here’s how the early church responds in the midst of it:
“So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” (Acts 12:5)
Read the rest of the chapter and you’ll see God at work, answering prayers at the very moments they’re being prayed (Acts 12:6–17).
I have no idea what is going to happen with the election. I have no idea what the future of this country will look like, and if what we read in Acts would be true of Christians in America in the 21st century.
I don’t know when my 2-month-old son will start sleeping through the night. I don’t know if my health is going to be the way it is today years from now.
The vast amount of things we simply do not know is endless and overwhelming.
So while we continue to seek justice, fight for the oppressed and overlooked, seek the good of our neighbor and this city, might his Spirit continually remind us that his ways are not our ways, his plans can’t be thwarted, and our hearts continually need to be checked by the Word of God.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying not pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!