In continuing the series called “TXT: Where the Conversation Begins”, I appreciated Mark Lutz’s comparative description of Christians wanting life’s difficulties and pain solved like a thirty minute sitcom, complete with a solution and closure neatly wrapped up. Due to complexities of human nature and interaction, free will, and an ultimate vision for the universe, God must be very clever to somehow take this somewhere. And that is where simple trust must kick in.
It got me thinking about how convoluted and intricate the global economy is. We currently have a family from Germany staying with us. The euro is very strong against the dollar; our friends will do well at the mall. And now the vast new market in China is radically shifting everything as well. It’s interesting how inflation in one part of the world can create a rift in the economy of the whole planet.
And then I compared that to people…with all our idiosyncrasies—emotional versus stoic, logical versus irrational, apathetic versus enmeshed, proud versus broken, and all our fallenness, wounds, dysfunctions, sins and genetically-whacked out systems—with currency, a non-living, static thing. Now how much more complicated is that? You think you could build a better mousetrap? Get a grip. God is amazing…and I’m not just sucking up (..as if He reads this. Uh, but of course he heard it in my head…).
You don’t even need a devil to make it complicated. But throw one in (literally…Rev 12:9), and it gets even more squirrelly. Some of us Christians need an apologetic for evil personified; I admit that’s a tough one. But for the Church, the best apologetic is simply the way Jesus talked about Satan. Jesus was either terrifically confused, or not who He said He was, or the writers just slipped this cosmic conflict stuff in when no one was looking. According to the record, the idea of a rebellious war being waged by enemy spiritual forces was a part of Jesus’ vocabulary. His followers picked this up as well. The apostle John, who was in Jesus’ inner circle since he was in his twenties, wrote in his old age some sixty years later that:
The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8b (New Century Version).
In other words, it was still a foundational piece of Christianity that Satan, and therefore spiritual conflict, was a factor in the confusion, pain and suffering of this planet.
That doesn’t solve the philosophical quandary; as a matter of fact, it makes it somewhat more sticky. But of all the proposed solutions for the problem of pain, this is the best I’ve heard. Especially when I consider the Messenger.
God is complex. Love is simple. Trust is critical.
This week I’m speaking on heaven and hell. Pray for me.