Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beautiful contradictions

Something came to me yesterday as I was writing about Paul and his confidence in doing what God would have him to do.
If you'll allow me a quote, he says:
"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. " Philippians 4:12

And one of my personal favorites (though only if I'm able to close my mind to the idea of the things he's suffered) is what I assume to be one of the few rants you'll find in the Bible.

Paul takes off on a tangent in 2 Corinthians 11:
"Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities"

Did you read that? The part that really speaks out to me is "in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often..."

That is the life of Paul.

But I said this connected to the chapter in Philippians didn't I. I do have a point.

The same Paul that said how he suffered weariness, painfulness, hunger and thirst -
is the same man that wrote "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory." (Philippians 4:19)

And he meant it. God meant it. Means it.

I find that a fascinating contradiction.

I was talking to someone today about faith, and after several questions that I could only prayerfully guess at, I finally ended up saying what no one wants to hear: "I believe it, because I have faith."
I'd love to have all the answers, but God doesn't trot down here to earth in the evenings to chit chat about why He does what He does all the time. I have to accept some things purely on faith.
So when you're hungering, and thirsting, weary and hurting, God still supplies all your needs.

It doesn't make sense. It doesn't mesh together. Joel Osteen probably doesn't preach it. ;)
But that's the crazy, and wonderful thing about serving God. It's true, all true, whether you believe it or not. Whether I believe it or not. God doesn't pull His holy hair out waiting on me to understand, He says "trust Me anyway" and you choose faith or fear.

We want God... ok, I want God to be easy sometimes. Uncomplicated. I'd like Him on a first grade level that spells out everything in simple terms with words that don't go longer than 5 letters as opposed to "predestination", "existentialism", "theocentric".
But God... right behind the definition "God is: Love" is "God is: Complicated"

Perhaps one day when I'm able to function with more than 10% of my brain I might be able to comprehend a bit more of His ways. But right now, the thing that holds my faith tightly to the cross is simply that He warned me I wouldn't understand. He knew it was going to happen.
And then He simply expected me to trust Him anyway. (Isaiah 55:6-13)


Anonymous said...

Great post! The JO comment made me chuckle. I think he just hits rewind on his sermons and "preaches" the same thing over and over again.

flyawaynet said...

Thanks Destiny.
I'm glad to know I didn't offend you with it. He's sure got a lot of fans.

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