The Answers

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7, ESV)

I didn’t read this passage until the end of the day, but when I did read it, I realized it was yet another passage of the Bible I felt like I had never read before, even though, in my Bible, it’s underlined. It’s weird how you can read a certain passage of the Bible multiple times and not really understand what it’s saying until you stumble upon it during devotions. That’s probably my favorite thing about the Bible, other than the fact that it in its entirety is a love letter from God to me, that it’s ever changing in the way of its truths being fresh every day but being never changing as the infallible eternal word of God. It’s amazing.

Today, I slept in. I haven’t been doing that lately, but I treated myself today 🙂 This morning I continued to read Jesus>Religion, the second chapter of which goes to explain just what Jesus meant when He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18).

First of all, this is yet another passage that I don’t remember reading. Granted, I remember the essence of what Jesus says here, but I never remembered “not an iota, not a dot” being in the Bible. I know it’s a small thing, but it stills blows my mind that it’s there. Now, Jefferson Bethke starts out writing this book with a disclaimer.

He says “Let me be straight with you: I’m not really qualified to write this book. I don’t have a Bible or seminary degree. I’m not a pastor or a counselor. I don’t know biblical languages and don’t know how to do exegesis—whatever that even is.” And I realized that I’m in the same position. I’m really not “qualified” to comment or interpret any passage of scripture or counsel in any way. But then Bethke goes on to say this:

“But I know that God has quite the sense of humor. It only takes a quick peek into Christian history to realize I’m almost the exact type of person He is looking for….God loves using people who are useless by worldly standards.”

This made me smile. Writing this blog and even writing about God and the Bible in general makes me feel very nervous, very small, only because I know all I do is read and ask questions and look things up all the time and hang out with my God and passionately pursue Him, because I really can’t do anything without His influence or His guidance or His love. But God does use the most messed up people around, I mean, really. It seems like out of the tons and tons of “qualified” people that are out there throughout history, God chose the most under-qualified, messed up, broken, shattered, anxious, and flawed people in humanity. That is so reassuring, because it reminds me that, (and I know I say this a lot and I probably sound like a broken record but man is this true) even if I fall flat on my face, which I will, God can still use me. Even if I say something totally idiotic and stupid that not only shames His name but the name of all of His children, my brothers and sisters in Christ, He can still pick up the pieces and create something beautiful out of the mess I’ve made. That’s a confidence I can’t and don’t have in anything or anybody else, because there’s nothing else in life that can do that.

So, reading this book is definitely a challenge of a lot of things I think and it offers a lot of answers to questions I’ve had. I like his perception and I can understand his point of view.

After doing my devotions, I got dressed and ate food and went to Studio. Today, in class, Stephen O’ Connor came and read to us and then entertained a Q & A. My first impression of Stephen O’ Connor was that he looked like an older version of Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s overall, I discovered, a very pleasant person and he’s very passionate about writing. During our discussion and his talk, I noticed the recurring theme in both his writing and his speech of how he saw humans as being a combination of both wonderful and horrible, having the capacity to do both amazing and also terrible things, and that humans will always be messed up. I dangerous question began to form in my head.

Now, I believe in being purposeful with my questions, even if they’re random and seemingly purposeless. So, as he spoke and I plucked up the courage to ask my question, I made sure my desire to ask it wasn’t based on a desire to be solely controversial but rather on the desire to move the conversation towards deeper thinking, towards Jesus Christ and how He’s ultimate. 

“You talk about this theme of humans being both good and bad, and you write about it a lot. I guess I’m wondering if you’ve ever written about a solution, or if you even think there’s a solution, to how evil and dark humans can be, despite their capacity to do wonderful things.”

His answer was well thought out and he was very thorough in explaining his point of view, in his belief, which I really appreciated. His argument was firm and solid. He basically said, including his identification with both Darwinism and evolution(which are basically one in the same but for argument’s sake I’ll leave them separate), that there’s no solution except to keep trying to be better. The world will never be perfect, but we should still fight against allowing the purposelessness of the world swallow us up. So many more questions swelled in my head as he explained. He basically described the doctrine of progressivism looked at through the lens of evolution, which I felt was kind of contradictory. If he believed we should continue to fight to be better, then how could he identify with the lack of purpose applied to humanity by the doctrine of evolution? Why should we fight if there’s no purpose? But as his argument came to a close, my professor cut me off from asking any more questions, “not wanting to get into politics,” and ended class.

Hm.

I went from there to Bible Study, but not until after returning to my dorm for a few moments. I changed my outfit ten million different times and couldn’t figure out why I was so concerned with how I looked. Eventually I decided I was being stupid and just wore my usual get up of jeans and converse, completed by my long-sleeved wrestling T-shirt. It’s moments like these when I remember that I’m not dressing up to impress anybody, and the One I should want to impress is not only out of my league but He’s not swayed by my appearances. He wants me to represent Him in a way that will draw people to Him…He wants me to be modest in both my speech and my dress, not because that’s what determines my salvation or defines my relationship with Him, but because I’m a princess, an adopted child of the King of Kings, and I should act and dress like one.

So I let myself be modest and comfortable, practical.

I went to Maria’s and made Oreo truffles and blueberry muffins. Everyone showed up, we all ate Mexican food and had, I think, one of the most growing and fruitful discussions we’ve had yet as a group. Dina was very open about certain struggles she’s facing and I think, through her example, that made it easier for other people, especially myself, to have the courage to speak about their personal struggles as well. It’s not that we all had a Dr. Phil moment in Sam and Maria’s living room, but the struggles were put out before the group and scripture as well as experiences and knowledge and wisdom of others were applied. It was really nice 🙂

Sam very kindly offered to drive me back to campus and I took the opportunity. I was at first hesitant to accept the offer, for different reasons, but when I realized those reasons were wrong and that Satan was seriously trying to mess with me (I know, how the heck would Satan use my polite refusal of a ride home?) and when I was encouraged by the Christians around me to accept, I was eager to do so. I know it was a small moment, and that a lot happened in my head in not a lot of time, it was actually a big deal for me. God won in that moment.

So, talking about the passage mentioned at the beginning of this post. Let’s look at it again.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7, ESV)

I want to start with the first statement. Now, I’ve always heard my pastors and my elders talk about how important it is to pray for our country, for our leaders, for our president, etc., but I’d never seen it (or I never remembered seeing it) in the Bible. Right here, in 1 Timothy, it says to pray for “all people, for kings and all who are in high positions.” That means Barack Obama. That means, in my case, Governor Cuomo. That means my professors. That means my pastors. That means everybody, but especially people in positions of great power. “With great power comes great responsibility”…no kidding, Stan Lee.

The next line I found to be important (at least during this reading of the passage) was the very next one. “God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So, to say God doesn’t want everyone to be saved is totally unbiblical. Of course He wants everyone to come to Him, of course He loves everyone.

“So why does He condemn people to Hell?”

He’s given us free will to choose Him rather than making us like robots and forcing us to choose Him anyway. Even though it pains Him, even though it breaks His heart, He gives us the option to be forever separated from Him, because He wants us to be happy with Him and understand that He’s the only One who can fulfill us, that the void in our chest is meant to be filled with only Him.

“But why make the other choice Hell? Why not give an option that isn’t so terrifyingly destructive?”

I don’t know. I don’t have that answer. I don’t know the ‘whys’, but, honestly, nobody does. I don’t know why God sent me to New York City. I know that certain fruits have been produced from my coming here, but I don’t know why specifically. I don’t know why God allowed me to go through such a damaging and horrible experience at such a young age, but I know that without that experience I wouldn’t be so close to Him and so desirous of Him as I am now. I don’t know why God has allowed Satan to attack my family viciously or why He takes loved ones home early, but I do know there is a reason behind it all, and I trust that He knows what He’s doing. Call it ignorance, call it idiotic optimism, whatever you want. I’ll stick to calling it faith in something that works, the only thing that works, the only One worth pursuing, the One who made me capable of love because He first loved me.

“But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of You righteousness, Yours alone.”  —Psalm 71:14-16, ESV

 

 

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About newminority16

Hi, my name is Hunter. I very often make random comments about bacon and how chocolate is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy :) So, before I started this blog, I was getting ready to make one of the biggest decisions of my life: college. God led me to go to a secular college in New York City, a place I was deathly afraid of. It's followed me through those years at college straight into married life and becoming a military spouse, all while seeking to following Christ and know God better and share Him with others. This blog is a way for you to go with me through these adventures, through being a Christian in a world that's forgotten its Creator.
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