Right before the Apostle Peter would stand trial, the Angel of the Lord struck his side while he was in a prison cell, sleeping between the guards and said, “Quick, get up. Get dressed and put on your sandals. Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” Peter was then able to navigate his way out of the prison and continue on building the early church. How many of us wish God would come to the rescue when troubles arise? Maybe not in the same dramatic fashion, but we’d appreciate just a small little nudge or two to get us out of danger.
The Bible tells us to trust God’s sovereignty. This is difficult, because we like it when God’s sovereignty lets us rule the galaxy as father and son (or father and daughter), but our opinion changes when hardships form on life’s horizon. Jesus told us that troubles would find us, though. We find things especially bitter when we feel ignored and left to fend for ourselves, besieged by fears, doubts, pain, and anything else that can cause sleepless nights.
Members of the early church faced persecution and many of them were executed. Sometimes, I wonder what I would have done if I lived during those times, facing a significant possibility that espousing faith in Jesus could yield a death warrant. Honestly, I don’t think I’d fare well, because I am adverse to taking risks – I like living. Yet, the church exists because people filled with the Holy Spirit risked their lives and spread the Good News to people outside of Jerusalem. Heroes.
This Memorial Day holiday weekend we honor people who gave their lives for the United States of America, and because of their sacrifice, we get to enjoy our freedoms. It is a shame that wars break out and require sacrificial acts like the ones we honor, but this is our reality. Heroes.
After reading many books and watching a ton of movies that employed hero plot lines, ya know, where someone saves the day, I wanted to become a hero. People love heroes. I am pretty sure most of you caught on to the fact that most heroes pay a huge price to become a member of that club. As you also probably can guess, when the knowledge of this little tidbit hit closer to home, my yearning to become a hero waned exponentially, to zero.
Living enough time on earth allows a person to discover a few secrets; however, none of those secrets includes understanding God’s sovereignty. That one will remain a mystery, and there are no good answers. I find myself at a loss when someone asks me how I could trust a God who willingly lets “good” people die, “Where was his love when he allowed ‘insert name here’ to die. Why didn’t he save him/her like he did others,” and I admit that responding with, “Well, God works in mysterious ways,” doesn’t really help.
My way of dealing with the lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty is to stop trying to understand it in the first place, just give up on that idea. There are difficult things in the Bible that we as believers cannot ignore. The same God who saves is also the same God who lets people destroy each other. Even though this seems like a desperate way to live, the main focus always should lock in on Jesus Christ and salvation, and always remember that this Earth is not the final destination for believers. Christ will not forsake us, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Also, there is nothing wrong with sending up a “Rescue me, God” prayer: Philippians 4:6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”