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June 25, 2014 – Isaiah 57

Click here to read Isaiah 57 on BibleGateway.com

trust-fall1All of us have probably played the trust game at one point or another.  This is the sadistic activity that comes around every once in a while at “team-building” retreats.  One person will stand with their back to another, close their eyes, and fall backwards, trusting the other person to catch them before they shatter their coccyx on the cement floor of the conference hall.  The stated purpose is build trust in one another, specifically by trusting that the guy that messes up your coffee order every morning somehow has enough cognitive ability, coordination,  and upper body strength to  intercept your carcass on its inevitable descent into agonizing pain. Allegedly, you can learn a lot from these exercises; like what happens when your partner falls forward instead of back, and the precise length of time that resentment towards the team-leader can fester.

HELLO? GOD?

Perhaps it stems from incidences like this, but most of us do not have a real strong sense of trust in the people around us.  Not such a bad thing, on occasion, but the problem is that this sometimes seeps over into our walk with Christ.  If we can’t trust men, and Jesus was a man, then perhaps we can’t trust him either.

No where is this more starkly displayed than when an innocent person dies.  A lunatic shoots up a school, a mother of 3 in her 20s has a stroke, an infant dies; immediately we ask ourselves “Where is God in this?”  We trusted him to heal, we prayed, we fasted, we did all the things we’re “supposed” to do, and yet senseless violence and death happens.

We can of course throw around the standard verses: God works all things together for good and whatnot.  Yet for anyone who goes through something like that, these words are pretty hollow.  Sure, God might bring good out of it, but my baby is still dead. Can I really trust God when he lets me down?

Isaiah addresses this topic in our reading today: “The righteous perish…the devout are taken away and no one understands.”  Ain’t that the truth? I think we could deal with these tragedies more easily if we just understood the plan.  Sometimes it just seems that the world is in chaos, and God is nowhere to be found.

AND YET…

Yet the section goes on: “The righteous are taken away to be spared from evil…they find rest as they lie in death.”  Have you ever considered that the innocent ones who die are actually the ones God is blessing?  Maybe that infant who was still born would have had a terrible life – maybe God loved them so much he brought them to himself first.   Maybe that innocent bystander was so awesome that God just wanted them in heaven sooner.  Can we accept that God is really acting in love, despite what we see?

All of God’s actions in the Bible reflect his desire to be in relationship with us.  Because of sin, we cannot be in full relationship with God until after death (thanks a lot, Adam).  But in light of that, the ones that die young are brought back into relationship with God more quickly.  They are fully who they are designed to be, in a way that those of us on Earth will probably never understand until we join them.  Maybe our losing them is God showing us just how great and wide and deep his love really is.

Can you trust God enough to believe it?

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