What they don’t tell you when they dunk you in the baptismal water: you’re not getting any breaks with this move.
It’s going to be hard and confusing and bad things will happen and you’ll crumble and be rebuilt and die and live and every other single thing humans do. Believers and unbelievers.
But you get the hope of tomorrow.
Your pain and suffering will never make complete sense.
The loss and heartbreak might not ever come full circle.
You will have disappointments and unanswered questions.
Difficulties will come and life will never turn out like you planned.
But you get Jesus, now and for eternity.
I like reading the Bible for lots of reasons, but one of them is because there are so many jaded people like me in there. That’s another thing they don’t tell you: the Bible is full of pretty horrible people.
And because I am also a pretty horrible person, I enjoy the company.
Do you know Habakkuk? He’s a prophet from the Old Testament and what makes him special for me is, instead of telling us what God wants His people to know, Habakkuk brings his complaints directly to God. Habakkuk is witnessing an ungodly, military nation destroy God’s own people, and he is not having it. To paraphrase, he’s basically yelling at God, “GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?”
Habakkuk is my soul mate (inside joke for the old timers…), because I echo that statement often.
Another school shooting: GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Politicians unable to agree on anything: GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
The hatred and madness that seems to rule our news: GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Another sexual predator, another person in power abusing their position: GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
The way every fight always comes back to money, who has it and who doesn’t: GOD, ARE YOU EVEN AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Habakkuk brings it to God with passion, anger, and confusion. This is not how it’s supposed to be, and you’re failing us right now.
“Habakkuk speaks our words to God. He gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things, faces God with our disappointment with God. He insists that God pay attention to us, and he insists with a prophet’s characteristic no-nonsense bluntness.” (The Message Remix by Eugene H. Peterson)
It’s not a far jump to think Habakkuk, had he been alive today, would have been saying the same things about our neighbors, our rulers, our country, our chaos, and our world.
God, where are you?
What God answers to Habakkuk then and what Gods answers us with now are the same things:
I am still in control.
The wicked are always punished.
Keep doing good.
The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
God is and will always be in control of everything. Even when things feel lost or messy. He tells us again and again He is in control.
I love the immature, pretend Christians who say lazy things like Put God back in schools then we wouldn’t have these problems!
Oh. Uh. Okay.
The God who made Heaven and Earth, who raised the dead, who created the world; you believe He abides by human rules? I’m sorry, have you met his Son, Jesus? He walked on Earth with the sole purpose of disrupting the status quo. And you think this same God who did all these things has left our schools because of a Supreme Court ruling? The New Testament is FULL of stories of Jesus going against human rules and traditions, pissing everyone off because He didn’t agree with their choices and their hearts, but suddenly in 1962 God changed His mind?
God’s nature doesn’t change. Just because you’re uninformed and repeating things you heard in the news, doesn’t make it true. Let’s filter information through the Bible before we start spouting it off please.
Think about this: what if every single person who was in church on any given Sunday actually lived the life Jesus modeled for us in the Bible? What if we did our best to be the person we pretend to be in the pew during corporate worship?
Guys, we wouldn’t need officially sanctioned school prayer if we were all doing our jobs.
(Side note: Are you actually aware what the Supreme Court ruling decided? School officials can’t demand or lead a class or school in a required prayer. But you know we still pray in schools, right? You know many teachers and staff are Christ followers and we pray all the time in public schools, right? You know that every morning before my students, Atheists, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christians, and many other faiths walked into my classroom, I was praying for the day and their time in my room, right? It’s a weak argument to demand prayer back in schools like that will fix everything. I don’t want to force non-believers to pray to my God. Why would I want that? Then we’re no better off than the crazy street “ministers” who yell and scream condemnation to passersby. They will know us by our LOVE. Our actions. People should be able to tell we’re different or that we follow Jesus by simple, everyday interactions. Not because we demand someone pray to a God they don’t believe in. When did we become so horrible?)
But I get it; it’s easier to blame something out of our control as opposed to change anything about ourselves. I understand. We don’t actually want to change ourselves, but we will FOR SURE tell you what needs to change in your life.
We’re the same cute Christians who share sermon messages on Facebook and Twitter from the comfort of our huge houses filled with too much stuff because we *know* exactly who needs to hear that message the minister shared last weekend.
Pot. Kettle. Plank. Saw dust.
Bless our ignorant little hearts.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults–unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
-Matthew 7:1-5, The Message
What they don’t tell you when they dunk you in the baptismal water: THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION.
You just jumped off the bench and took on the heart of Jesus. You no longer get to be a bystander. You no longer get to offer commentary on the lives and choices of others, because you realized you are just as broken as everyone else and you asked Jesus to fix you in a way only He can.
So you get to lament and cry to God like Habakkuk did. You get to bring your anger and wrestle with God as He gives you new eyes and a new heart and a new hope. BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO GET GOING.
You have to do what Jesus did. You have to show up for the hurting people. You have to love the ones everyone else hates. You have to ignore man’s law and live by God’s. You have to stop building altars of money, guns, clothes, bigger houses, and fancier cars to instead focus on the Cross.
What they don’t tell you when they dunk you in the baptismal water: You have to live differently, act differently, love differently.
And if you’re not doing those things, there’s a good chance you believe silly things like we should put God back in public schools. Like that will solve our problems. Not you, not your actions, not your words, not your prayers, just God back in schools.
Like He actually left.
God, save us from your lukewarm followers; they’re the Devil’s best tool.
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