Aug 12, 2011

When God Deceives

How blasphemous it is to think about the Lord deceiving us. Here's something a bit harsher to envision: rape. If Billy Graham (for lack of a great number of spiritual figures most of us can appreciate) stood before the masses and prayed accusatory remarks that God had seduced him toward a place and raped him of his innocence, would not the world be aghast?  Yet this infamous accusation was delivered by none other than the Prophet Jeremiah saying, "You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me." (Jer 20:7) The Hebrew word pittitani, "you have deceived me," means to entice, deceive and/or persuade. It is used in the same context of when a man seduces a woman.
The whole point of Jeremiah's lament was that he knew God had called him to a prophetic ministry with his people but he did not know that they would reject him and treat him so poorly.  Jeremiah believed God had promised him something and did not deliver.  Have you ever experienced that before?  I've got stock in that market.
Just like when God spoke to Moses during their discussion next to the bush that continually burned but was not consumed, he had heard God's promise to take him and the Israelites to the Promised Land. What he failed to mention was the 40 years of wandering in the desert in between said promise and its fulfillment. That in between time, our desert experiences, are simply miserable. However, those in between moments are the places where trust is forged. Visions of the Israelites are hopefully filling your mind now.  Such like the times they complained about having to eat mana for a few years just about the time they discovered the Promised Land. The desert times are filled with tests, trials, persecutions, miracles, and deep prayer. Even though we know that God's Spirit whispers to us to trust Him regardless of circumstances, the tractor beams of bitterness and complaint pull us toward their joyless ooze of despair.
So if you feel that you're in a place where God has both led and abandoned you, so much so that, perhaps, you wish you were dead, then rejoice for you are in good company. All of the spiritual fountainheads of the Bible have been to such a place, wished for death, and poured out their heartfelt complaints to God.  Even Jesus in the Garden told God that it was too much to bear. Here's the good news about being real with our heart's condition with God: He's big enough, and loving enough, to handle our heart's pain.
This reminds me of that famous Bible passage, loved by millions, ... "... and it came to pass."  One day this realm of in between will fade away.  The best thing to do in the meantime is to listen to Jesus' brother's advice and to count it joy when trials of all kinds come our way.  Choosing to trust and to have joy definitely outshines the other option.  Plus, we all know, deep down, that God will prove faithful again and again and again and again .... etc.
But, man, doesn't it just suck in the meantime?

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