People text me while I preach at pfm. It’s very cool. Some end up getting woven into the message. Some don’t. But I appreciate them all. Over the last few weeks, my iPhone has been busy. Here are only a few, spread between two services in the last two weeks. Context: the message series called HOPE, based on Romans 5:1-11. We talked about sin, forgiveness, suffering, and (of course) hope.
If everything was good all the time, would we need God? Oh wait… heaven!
You beat me to it! Here’s a mind-blowing thought: imagine the world without the sun. We learned in science that, were the sun to suddenly disappear, the earth would instantly become a big ball of ice as every molecule of water froze instantly — including the water inside of our bodies (not unlike Michigan in January). We need the sun for light, heat, circadian rhythm, marking time, and probably a bunch of other stuff, too. Consider Revelation 21:23 — the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. We will always need God, relying exclusively on Him like we do the sun.
I’ve been thinking about this since Sunday and compared it to Day-Quil. When we’re sick, we need medicine. God’s love is like medicine in that it heals, soothes, helps. But when the sickness is gone, we put the Day-Quil away until we start rootin’ around for it when we get sick again. Not so with God. He’s more like a supplement needed daily. Every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, 24-7, etc. We’re needy creatures, but that’s okay, because He made us that way on purpose.
What a testament… to be able to write that song [It is Well] after losing his children!
Indeed. The CyberHymnal reminds us that the lyrics to this hymn was written by Horatio Spafford following several tragedies in his life, including financial ruin in the Chicago Fire, the loss of his children in a shipwreck. The words resonate with our souls because it sings of Faithful God, who is like the sun (see above).
Lexi does not have a birth defect. She was born with a disability. Defect means something is wrong with her, that she is broken and needs fixing… God made her perfect in his eyes and she will make a difference in this world.
Our daughter has Down Syndrome and West Syndrome and is on the Autism spectrum. As a matter of fact, I just went to her room and woke her up for school. Like her mother, she’s not much of a morning person :-). God has taught us quite a bit about, well, everything that life can turn out to be. We trust Him. Indeed God is using Lexi to make a difference in the world, as seen with our great friends celebrating Funky Sock Day with us in March. The celebration wrapped around the globe via her Facebook page. What a great reminder that God goes the extra step in healing — not making a disability “go away” but rather doing something to make it a superability. Indeed she can do things we can’t (unfortunately it doesn’t involve any kind of magic).
I believe people with disabilities show aspects of God.
I totally agree. Lexi shows joy. She loves people. She also doesn’t put up with much when we should know better. Example: she can give us a look that cannot be understood any other way than to say why are you feeding me this line?
My daughter has Aspergers and can sense peoples emotions like they’re her own.
I knew someone with special needs who had an unbelievable ability to look you right in the eye and read the barcode on your soul. I think we see some of the best parts of humanity in people who are free to use their empathy, energy, and creativity in ways unfettered.
The lepers wanted only to be able to feel pain. Once they felt pain they (knew) were healed because leprosy makes the victim not feel pain.
Philip Yancey wrote about this in his excellent book Where is God When It Hurts? A world without any pain would be devastatingly dangerous for us, if we even lasted more than a few years. Yancey tells stories of how people with leprosy, which includes losing the feeling in your limbs, would wake up to animals chewing on their fingers and toes. They didn’t wake up right away because they couldn’t feel it. Philosopher and author Peter Kreeft makes the point that a world devoid of any kind of emotional pain and suffering would lead to people being selfish pigs with no motivation to be compassionate toward others. As Paul writes: suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance to character, and character, hope.
By the way: C.S. Lewis writes about pain with clarifying confusion. Lewis, Kreeft, and Yancey were all helpful sources for my own preparation for this message.
If Jesus has the authority to forgive sins on earth, why did he have to die on the cross?
Jesus forgave the paralytic of his sins before physically healing him. This is a good question, since it was obviously a statement Jesus made before the cross. We’ll talk this Sunday about how Jesus was crucified at just the right time in human history, in a way that makes the cross effective in our past/present/future. It’s all relative.
What a great example of how our sins need to be forgiven before our souls can be healed.
Indeed. People were coming to Jesus for physical healing and he goes right to the source of their troubles. No matter the physical need, sin is our biggest problem. We dare not heal the body but lose our souls in the process. Isn’t Jesus great? He heals bodies and souls.
Sometimes when you’re angry with God… does that mean you don’t trust him?
No. The greater risk is to be angry with God and not trust Him with our anger. Always spill that out. He can handle it. He loves you.