Glorying In The Irony Of God
|People might pray to God for signs of the
direction for them to go in,
not for some specific pre-thought out wish that isolates the
forces of God on a conventional, specific, pre-thought out
issue and stereotyped answer. Avoid a simplistic Christianity as well
as being bossy in your prayers. God moves in mysterious
ways with mind above our minds. He knows things we do not. Leave
God room to maneuver. Let God be God.
I knew a lonely person who went to Lourdes praying for a miracle of grace through all the right ecclesiastical channels. She ‘wanted a very specific and well defined miracle. She prayed for this. Instead on the way to Lourdes she received a "sign" miracle. She me someone who loved her whom she had not seen in years. This new love and intimacy helped her to endure a sickness which was not cured by a miracle. But God’s grace through her new “Old” friend was sufficient for her. Her strength was made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 9-10) The miracle she wanted was not possible, but God gloried her weakness.
God moved her in the direction she needed to go to endure. With our tiny minds we may define the miracle we want in the way of grace. But let God be God. God knows the directions you need to move in, but do not give a narrow and defined expectation. For example, everyone prays quite normally not to die, but death can be a grace. Facing death, you need a spiritual sustainer, not some imaginatively arrived at miraculous solution.
Remember how much evil is in the world and how much good may come of it. Most politicians have as their chief aim, for example, being elected to office, that is really what they are after. In fact voters are told, things will be best only if that politician is elected. Such nonsense. While politicians come and go, God, our chief hope and irony-maker endures forever.
Self-aggrandizement is the chief aim of most politicians. Please God, may I be wrong! But the common good of the country becomes a minor secondary consideration after their election happens usually, no election promises are kept. Considering the election promises, this may be a good thing. But the country continues to be governed badly. How could it be otherwise?
Consider governments. It often happens through a group of egotistical politicians for whom governing is only a secondary consideration. Any ideals they have are tamed into insignificance through compromises. Not much happens. It is grace, amazing grace, that governments survive the politicians chosen by the people. Why people expect so much from politicians I have yet to comprehend.
The same rule applies in many areas and institutions today. The institutions of the nations of the world are generally NOT run by people in line with any but selfish and second class goals. Ease, riches, bribery, smug BUREAUCRATS enforcing bad and insensate government rule around the world. It is a miracle of grace that many nations run at all. No wonder the world is packed with the starving and their ignorant offspring. That any good seems to be accomplished is a proof of good transcending intent, prayer over experience.
We should acknowledge the grace of God that makes right materialize out of wrong. Let us look at the life of Solomon in the Bible. King Solomon was the son of a bad and even evil marriage. While he was not perfect of course, he became a means of grace to Israel. Therefore it was the grace of God beaming into an unexpected corner of depravity. Solomon is also evidence that grace is granted by God regardless of personal sins. God does not curse the children for the personal sins of their fathers.
The grace of God is like the peace of God. It passeth all understanding. But we should not try to expect miracles of grace literally or to define them too narrowly. Look in the right direction and leave the rest to God. God moves in mysterious ways and ironic paths. It might be best if we look first for God out of the corner of our eye to where grace is not generally expected. After all, didn't grace come out of Nazareth?
The liberals today have a great half lie! It is that human nature is good. Man does have a godly side but existence of a good half does not make real good. It makes for a teeter-totter between good and evil. Our life is a tension, a tug of war of good and bad. The world as well as individuals stand on the precipice of survival. Will the world pay attention to serious survival or silly materialism and infinite selfishness?
Selfishness may be a left handed gift from God the Creator to help ensure the survival of mankind. But mankind is more selfish than it need be. To control our selfishness along with some redemptive cap on the excesses of human nature is the direction in which mankind needs to go. These are needed in order to survive and prosper spiritually as well as economically. There is room for both in the Kingdom of God.
The prophet Jeremiah at 17:09 says the heart is deceitful above all things. Who can know it? Jeremiah is mourning\ the the fact that the heart has other interests besides love and good. Try power, money etc. But while the spiderous notions in our self-aggrandizing hearts spin on, the grace of God can ironically use them. Where man abuses, grace often disabuses.
Our spiders in the heart, our evil notions, do exist. Sin, passions and hatefulness are real. But grace like the sun rises. In the selfishness of this world an amazing amount of sunshine often rises over selfish, odd motivations and weird plans. Grace turns them to right use and makes appropriate helpers to advance the Kingdom of God. Knowing this let us glory in the irony of God.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.