Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fire from Heaven, hostages and wheat

I did some processing the other day. I walked through some old pain that was stirred up and I asked again the old question, “God, why didn’t you step in and DO something?” Since I have instances in my journey where some were physically/emotionally hurtful but just as hurtful were those that stood by and watched as if nothing horrible was happening. Grrrr! I get all the psychological reasons but how can you stand by and watch? I don’t think I can ever get that.

That gets twisty sometimes when it feels like God stood by and watched too. When I feel like it can make God frightening and unapproachable. Many times I ask Him point blank. “Well, what were YOU doing? What makes you different? I suppose it might sound precocious but I have never felt anything but delight from the LORD for my honesty and directness. He wants true followers. I wouldn’t be true if I buried my questions so as not to be disrespectful.

Sometimes I most relate to the disciples James and John. Jesus called them the sons of thunder. In Luke 9:54-56 after Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans for political reasons maybe? It says this about James and John. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”” I think fire from heaven would be a good response don’t you? But Jesus said to them in response, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

Can Jesus love both the victim and the abuser? Is there a difference? There are many places where God says He hates oppression. Why can’t I see that? I want to see Him step in if He hates oppression! When I really need to see God’s response to violence and oppression I turn back to Psalms 18. That’s a cool Psalm. There He is sending out hailstones and coals of fire. :)

This time though I asked Jesus why He didn’t step in and I got an unusual answer. In the pain that I was processing I felt surrounded by people who didn’t react or step in. I wanted God to send down fire from heaven and burn them all! But the picture I had was of a hostage crisis where the goal is first to rescue the hostages then deal with the hostage takers. I am thinking of a movie called “Inside Man”. In the movie everyone was dressed the same. The hostages and the perpetrators all were given the same suits. Then they were mixed up so that no one could tell who was who.

That reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) where the enemy planted tares among the wheat seeds. The owner of the field decided for the sake of the wheat the tares should be left alone until the harvest. Hmmm, Interesting thoughts as I relate all this to evil and its effect. I know in a field full of weeds the wheat won’t do as well as in a field that has none. But where in the world are we isolated from evil?


  1. Ruth Ann, I hear you. I want to know too. I want justice real bad. I want God to stand up and say to those playing their little head games all in the name of Christ to be straightened out right now! How can he take it? How does he manage not to do what I do, open my mouth, shout to the rooftops, get angry, do what ever it takes to make a point etc.? over the last week I have made some really difficult amends to people. So far I hate doing it, and I question why I should have too. But, the Lord has made it clear to me that I need to be dealing with what comes out of my own heart. And, when I do attack because of the injustice i see, I really don't think how others will be affected. So should I just shut my mouth and pretend all is well? Seems as if it should never be that way, but this world hates anger, even when you are justified in it, and this world hates being told it is wrong, and the church hates anger, and the church hates to be told it is wrong...All of it seems to be a chasing after the wind. God help us all.

  2. I totally understand. I once was treated cruelly by Christian people who told me at the same time they were "loving" me. OUCH!!! But a wise woman drew me to the foot of the cross. I saw Jesus there in the same situation but calm, not bitter, angry or wrestling with twisted truths or abandonment. Judas had kissed and devoured Him, Peter had denied having ever met Him. The religious leaders totally missed the God He was trying to show them. But I don't see Jesus freaking out about it. My friend didn't expect me to change but just asked the question, "How was Jesus able to respond as He did?" I'm still wrestling with that question. He clearly sees what I do not yet see.