I have a confession: this week I got sucked into reading a debate between Christians on a social media platform and it exhausted, and for the most part, discouraged me. Now, I am not one to shy away from an argument, as many of you probably know, but it was enough to just read it — I didn’t respond to any of it. The truth is, I find myself more and more worn out and dispirited by the sheer amount and intensity of the arguments these days and I shy away from these things. Everywhere I look, and especially in the media and social media, there are people arguing and fighting over issues, money, relationships — you name it. It is draining. Yet seemingly, there is still great energy for arguing even as I get the sense we are all actually pretty exhausted.
Then I started reading Romans 8 and couldn’t help but notice the courtroom drama the apostle Paul unfolds before our eyes. There is a grand argument between the Enemy of our souls and us. Satan comes to accuse and reveal our sin and weakness to God with the full intention of seeing us destroyed. It is filled with accusations and counter points and horrible truths. It seems as though there can’t possibly be a happy peaceful conclusion. And then the conclusion arrives and is more or less this:
The beauty of God’s gift is the end of the argument.
All of the arguing, all of the name-calling, all of the condemning voices are drowned out when we think of the beautiful gift of Jesus Christ to us. And I call it beautiful because it helps describe what it’s like to receive a gift that is both effective and good, strong and wise. It is one thing to get a gift that works really well (effective), it is another for it to be both personal and solve a problem (wise). It is a bit like when my boys got some pliers stuck, (their favorite fishing pliers) in a pocket. They had tried for a couple of days to remove the thing and had even told me about it. Then this morning I saw them working on it and realized the problem. They had to simply squeeze the pliers and then it would release. So I walked on over like a man of strength and wisdom (having extensive knowledge of such things) squeezed those pliers effortlessly, and mysteriously freed their favorite tool and placed it in their hands. They were amazed!
When God walks into that room of arguing and discouragement, He does so with strength and authority. The freedom He offers is effortless, for as Richard Baxter wrote when pondering God’s strength and authority, “He is at no more labour to make a world than to make a fly.” God is not perplexed by the argument nor is He unmoved by our need for peace, especially peace for our souls. I think about this a great deal, and am moved to pray that God would find a peaceful conclusion to the anxiety in our world, and to the bickering and the arguing. But maybe He needs to start with me…
More on that this Sunday!
God bless you all!