Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Just As I Am

In looking at this interaction between Moses, Aaron, and the magicians of Egypt in which the magicians' response to the powerful acts of the Almighty Lord was to make things worse for Egypt, an obvious question comes to mind: 

Why didn't the magicians prove their power by removing the plagues inflicted by the Lord?

That only makes sense, right? If you're all of a sudden up to your ankles in frogs by a mighty act of the Lord and you want to show that you are powerful, you would logically think to remove the frogs, not add to them. I think. I mean, I understand how bravado works, but a plague on your people is no time for bravado. And if you're trying to prove to this plagued people that you can protect them, the way to do that is not by adding more frogs up to their knees. 

But here's the truth about men: they've never really been interested in proving themselves more powerful than God. It may seem that way sometimes, but that's not really what we want. If we are more powerful than God, that makes us responsible for a lot of things. It puts a lot of things in our hands and, well, we'd rather keep our hands clean. And if we find that we are more powerful than God, then that silences the question. There's no longer another way out. 

Follow me here. If I am more powerful than God and yet, I run up against a problem that I cannot solve or a feat I cannot perform or a need for a strength that I don't have, then I am defeated. Plain and simple. God can't save me, since I am more powerful than Him. So where my ability ends, so ends everything. And what I find is that even though I have found myself to be more powerful than God, there is still something more powerful than me. I learn this every time I am faced with the confession, "I can't." 

If, on the other hand, God is not bigger than me, then when I run up against something that I cannot do, there is a chance, no matter what else I believe about Him, that He can. There's at least that chance. And in the nature of the relationship that I have with God, this means that this is not defeat. At least, it doesn't have to be.

This is great news! All things being what they are, if I am going to find that there is something bigger than me, better that it is the knowable God than the unknowable unknown.

And yet, even in being bigger, God cannot be far too much bigger. And this is why we are so interested in being God's equals. If we can do what God can do, if we can bring more frogs, then we might be drowning in frogs, but we have no great need for Him. If my power is as great as His power, then I can do most things on my own. It is only in those rare situations where I discover that something still is bigger than me that I must turn to Him.

Put simply, we want a God Who we can hope in, but not one in Whom we have to trust.

That's the heart of our rebellion. That's how we end up heaping frogs upon frogs, blood upon blood, flies upon flies. That's how we end up making things worse instead of trying to make them better. That's how we look at everything God has done and declare, I can do that, without it ever occurring to us that we might just be making things exponentially worse for ourselves. We can, so there's no need to trust.

But on the rare occasions that we find that we can't, at least we have hope. 

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