Watched Evan Almighty last night. Not bad. Of course, sequels are never live up to the original. But for some reason, in the middle of the one of the worst nights of my life, it became clear.
God gives the ark. That’s how you know.
Noah’s ark. Jonah’s whale-belly. The disciples’ boat. They all were out, living in the midst of a storm, a storm that God can control (as seen in the disciples’ boat example), but that’s not how God chooses to show us his love. He doesn’t get rid of storms, he gives us a place of comfort in it. The ark still endured the storm. Jonah still got tossed around. The disciples still got wet. But they were in the presence of a loving God that gave refuge, a sense of peace in the midst of that which could not be controlled.
A common theme to early civilizations (we’re talking pre-pre-anything. The time that the Pentateuch was written) was the idea of “toe-voo va boe-hoo” (that’s transliterated Hebrew. sorry, no hebrew font on this app, and I’m not sure i could remember how to spell it). The uncontrollable waters. The place where, if you upset the gods who lived there, you were sure to die. A place of refuge was necessary for life to continue.
So, when Jesus calmed the storm, that was a pretty big deal. When God “hovered above the waters”, also a big deal. God is bigger than that and is in control of all that.
So why doesn’t he just make nice waters all the time? Why the storms?
Because then we’d never enter the ark. We’d never need the presence of Jesus. We’d never reconsider that maybe we’re headed in the wrong direction (in the case of Jonah). We’d never see how good God truly is because we’d never recognize our need for him in the storms.
God doesn’t choose to give us bad things, storms. And they’re not outside of his control.
My favorite line from the movie last night was Morgan Freeman’s jaunt on opportunity. He said, “When someone prays for patience, does God just make you patient or does he give the opportunity to become a more patient person? Or when someone prays for the family to become closer, does He give you warm, happy feelings or the opportunity to do something together?”
When we cry out to God in the midst of a storm, does God take away the storm or give you the opportunity to find refuge in Him?
(I also have thoughts on the “knowledge of good and evil” and the curse. But that shall come later. )
Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.” (John 11:14-15)
Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “where did you put him?”
“Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept.
The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying? After all he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead for four days!”
Jesus looked her in the eye. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (11:33-40)
Things i’ve noticed:
1. Jesus’ “anger welled up within him.” Twice.
2. “if only you were here”
3. “if he loved him *that* much”
4. “it’s been four days…”
5. “Didn’t I tell you?”
6. “new grounds for believing//the glory of God.”
It’s become very evident to me that it’s not Jesus’ love, or lack thereof, for Lazarus, Mary or Martha that is at the center of this story. He gets just a little angry when people begin to tie his love to his acts. They begin thinking that they are the reason for what Jesus did. But really, this miraculous act was about the glory of God.
Somehow we begin to think that God’s love for us is only made evident when He does what we want Him to do, in our time. But that’s not love. Love isn’t always getting what you want.
We know God loves us because He puts us in the midst of his miraculous works. Whether it’s creation or redemption, He has made us a part of His great plan for this world. And he does miracles all the time to give us reason to believe in it, to continue believing in it, even when He doesn’t do what we want when we want Him to.
as i was perusing the itunes podcast section, i came across erwin mcmanus’ sermons. i decided to download one to see what i thought. it was called “the lie” and he was circling in on the fall and the lie we believe about ourself.
then i got an email from my sister, whom i might visit this weekend, and she included a sermon from her pastor from last week so that if i go to church, i will not be lost amid the series. the title? “the lie.” hmmm… i think it’s time to revisit genesis 1-3?
so i did. and now i have questions. of course.
1. adam and eve were naked. life was good. they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. still naked, but now life was bad. why? it obviously wasn’t the nakedness. they were naked in the beginning; God made it that way and life was good. and it’s not as if God was trying to pull one over on them, keeping the fact that they were naked a secret because it was bad… he wanted it to be that way. so why, praytell, does our knowledge of good and evil have an effect on our nakedness and our perception of its badness? it seems that the nakedness wasn’t the problem… the problem is what we thought of it all.
2. the youngest as favorite syndrome. as an oldest child, i relate. seems it began with adam and eve… abel, the baby, always did things better than cain. you know, in cain’s defense, he had to screw up so that others could learn from the mistakes of the eldest. it’s the way life works. but, nonetheless, it seems that the youngest is always God’s favorite, as well. isaac over ishmeal for Abraham; jacob over easu for Isaac; benjamin over all 11 of them for jacob. Christ over Adam. The second is always chosen over the first. Why?
3. what is the “knowledge of good and evil” really all about? how does knowing good and evil change the course of human history? why did it change our relationship with God? i think has something to do with self-relience, or in the words of Angie’s pastor, the beginnings of self-preservation (thus the plight of Cain…. if i’m not good enough, then destroy that which reveals that i’m not good enough). but why does knowing good and evil drive us to self-preservation? why does the choice between the two (good or evil) mean that we frequently choose to self-preserve?
Seriously, folks. Not being my usual antagonist self… i’d like to know how these things come together to form our understanding of God and ourselves.