Monday, November 23, 2015

In the Face of Fear, There Is No Debate

A couple of months ago I got into a pretty heated discussion with a friend of mine about a "hot-button" topic in the Presidential race. Truthfully, it was more like a Subway Panini -- only heated on one side. I'd say ten words, and she'd fire back with eighty; I'd express one point, and she'd start warming up the rocket launchers -- the kitchen sink was coming. As I began to realize this had gone far beyond a legitimate debate, I backed down. Because I'm a Christian, and that's what we're supposed to do. Because if I ever had a shot at showing Jesus to her, pressing on would end that. Because...yeah, no other reason. Let's face it, I didn't want to. She was being unreasonable. She was being inflammatory. And she was arguing like a four year old. No kidding! She was using racial and ethnic slurs -- no intelligent debate there. And that's what I wanted! A good debater wants to see both sides of the coin, wants to be challenged. And I wanted her to know I expected better of her than schoolyard name-calling. I thought she was capable of better.

But in my silence, it dawned on me -- and by "dawned" I mean, a thought straight from the Holy Spirit: She has not seen God do the things you have seen Him do. She cannot trust God because they barely have a relationship. I think she goes to church. She quotes Bible verses when she wants to point out everyone else's need for Jesus. But I don't think there's a genuine relationship. She doesn't walk with Him; I'm not sure she even talks with Him; and she doesn't allow Him to work. She is afraid. Fear is like throwing a stick in your bicycle spokes: My eyes are opened to what God can do, therefore I trust God, therefore I obey God, therefore my eyes are opened to what God can do, therefore I trust God, therefore I obe-- FEAR!! And it all comes to a screeching halt.

In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel sets forth a memorial -- he calls it Ebeneezer -- to remind the people what God had done for them. Remembering how far God has brought us, enables us to trust. Remembering the miracles we've witnessed, enables us to obey. This blog is my Ebeneezer. I look back from time to time and see what God has done for me and those I love. The good, the bad, the ugly -- but through it all, He has worked for my good.

I just celebrated my fiftieth birthday: the outpouring of love I received left me verklempt. In only ten years, God has widened my circle of friends -- true friends -- to ridiculous dimensions. My relationships criss-cross states and countries, occupations and lifestyles, beliefs and ethnicities, personalities and incomes. God has taken this cynical, anti-social-and-proud Queen of Darkness from depression, and legalism, and suicidal/ homicidal thoughts to a place of hugs and laughter, music and joy, love for humanity other than those within my four walls. Even in sickness. Even in betrayal. Even in poverty.

I have seen cancer cured, "fatal" injuries healed, former crack addicts celebrated for their philanthropy, homes rebuilt -- families and structures, the hungry fed, the hardened brought to tears, the aging serving youth, youth serving the aging, the poor serving the rich, the rich serving the poor, the spiritually and emotionally dead brought to life. I have seen God do amazing things! And that's just in my little world. The accounts my friends bring from overseas are nothing short of miraculous!

So, debate as you like, and close your mind as your fear directs. But my God is an awesome God, and He is working mightily in this world today. If you would open your eyes, if you would trust, you might just find He wants to use you.

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