Ok, guys … I enjoy Andy Stanley (Sr. Pastor Northpoint Church in Atlanta area). If you know me, then you know I speak of him often. If you don’t know me then why are you following my blog .. just joking.
Recently, I viewed a teaching by him and once again he brought out things that I had never heard before, things from another avenue.
This time, he was talking about times in our lives when God is distant (it seems); when God doesn’t answer our prayers; and seems to be uncaring about our circumstances. We all have been there. If not, then hang on – it is on the way.
John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus. He got thrown in jail by Herod just as Christ was beginning his ministry. While in prison, his disciples visited him regularly and told him of the miracles Jesus was doing. Surely he thought that Jesus would help him out; help him get out of prison. Day after day all he saw was the prison walls. Finally he had his disciples deliver a message from him to Jesus asking “Are you the one whom we have been waiting for, or should we wait for someone else?” John began to have doubts because all he could see what the prison walls. Even though he baptized Jesus and foretold of his coming, he had doubts after spending so much time in prison. Jesus upon hearing the question answered “Tell him the miracles you are seeing.”
Then he tells them to also tell John: “Blessed is he who does not stumble away because of me.” Wait a second, stumble? We can stumble away because of Christ? He was telling John to stay the course because even though he was in jail, it was part of God’s plan. Eventually, John was beheaded. That is right, Christ allowed John to die in jail; his own cousin. Jesus understood God’s plan, and probably knew then that one day he would also be put to death as part of God’s plan.
We question God when our troubles affect our happiness, not others. When the tsunami happened we felt bad, prayed for the survivors, maybe gave donations. We did not question God. Why? I believe it is part of human nature. What affects us means more to us than what affects others. It is not right though, just our nature.
Our personal circumstance does not coincide with how God feels about us. What God allows in our life is part of His plan for our lives. This is tough medicine to swallow because our troubles are dealt with by us mainly.
We need to have a faith in God that NO MATTER what happens in our life, He is always there no matter what we feel. His promises are true regardless of what happens. Proof of how God feels about you is reflected in the cross, not in what is happening to you at home, work, in your kids, your school, your relationships, etc.
So what do you do when God seems distant? You reflect! You remember the past when God came through. When you cannot see outside your prison walls, it is necessary for you to look back and see when it seemed like there was no hope, God turned things around and you see that you actually grew through the trial even through at the time it seemed like you were so weak.
2000 years later, we are still discussing events that at the time seemed was God’s inattentiveness (Jesus dying on the cross, John’s death, and many more instances).