More and more, people seem to be posting comments and links on social media that speak to the awesome power of God, His amazing ability to work in and through tragedy, and His faithfulness to open eyes, draw people closer, and teach us more about Himself in the midst of difficulty.
When I see these posts, half of me wants to weep and praise the Lord for Who He is and what He is doing. The other half wants to keep scrolling, ignore these posts like they don’t exist, and maintain the status quo of my uneventful, yet comfortable day.
It shames me to admit it. I should rejoice over these testimonies and the boldness with which my brothers and sisters in Christ share them, shouldn’t I? I should cry tears of joy, clap, and shout Jesus’ name. I should at least share or repost.
Why don’t I? Well, it’s complicated.
When I was little, I was confused by the story of Jesus casting the demons out of the crazy man into the pigs (Luke 8), not confused by Jesus’ actions, but by the response of the townspeople. They weren’t happy. They didn’t throw a party like I thought they should have. They didn’t even high-five Jesus or give Him a hug. Instead, they asked Him to leave.
I didn’t get it. Couldn’t the people see that in doing what He did, Jesus had shown love and compassion and proven that He was more powerful than the devil? Couldn’t they see that Jesus had the power to change their lives as well?
Reading the story now, I think they did see, and that was just it. They understood that Jesus had the power to turn their entire world upside down for God’s glory with a single word if He chose to, and that terrified them.
I can relate. You see, I’ve seen God’s children suffer that He might demonstrate His power to sustain and to heal, and I’ve heard stories of the sacrifice He has required of others that the Gospel might be spread. Although I’ve yet to experience any of these things myself, the very thought makes my skin crawl.
What if, after performing a miracle in someone else’s life, Jesus should turn around and make eye contact with me? What if He chooses to call my name next and make a spectacle of me for His glory? What if God passes me a cup full of something I don’t want to drink?
He can, you know. It’s well within His rights to do with me anything He wishes, anything that serves the purpose of His will, and if I truly love Him like I say I do, I’ll choose to be okay with it and allow God to work in and through me and my circumstances to glorify Himself as so many of my faithful brothers and sisters have done.
As they have, I’ll rely on His sufficient grace. I’ll rest in the peace that He gives. I’ll have faith because He is God and has promised never to leave me or forsake me. Would I really have a choice?
To know the Lord is to fear Him, not because He doesn’t love. He does. Not because He doesn’t rescue. He has. Not because He isn’t working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He is. Personally, I fear the Lord because the purpose of His will is His own glory above all else, and rightly so. He is God, after all. I fear Him because He can and will bring His glory about one way or another. We have His Word on it.