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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Wednesday, September 22 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Sovereignty

A member of the Nanty Glo list posted these questions on Wednesday:

If God in his wisdom decides out with the Anti-abortion, conservative George Bush and in with the Pro-choice, liberal John Kerry we are not to complain or question because this is what God wants for us? And if this is so...then God chose the morally deprived Bill Clinton to be our President for two terms because he felt we deserved him? And if God chose Clinton ...are we not questioning God's will by our constant snapping at the heels of the Clintons long after they are 'gone'?

And don't you think that prayer is subjective? ie; my prayer is important because it's MY prayer. (Or is that the mindset of a selfish person...?) One person might pray for more profound things like world peace, a desperate mother whose child is dying from AIDS might pray for a total recovery, while a die-hard Steelers fan might pray for a Super Bowl victory. And if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, but strife goes on in the world, and the AIDS victim dies, then we can assume that God sees the prayer for the Steelers' victory in the super bowl as more worthy than prayers for the sick or world peace?

My reply: It would seem that a series of Jonals on The Sovereignty of God is in order.

We Orthodox pray every morning: "In all unexpected occurances, do not let me forget that all is sent down by Thee." All is sent by Him. And even though it's politically unacceptable to say God had a hand in 9/11, everyone who understands God's sovereignty knows He did. No way was He sleeping when those plots were hatched. And, sorry to disillusion anyone, but Falwell and Robertson were correct in looking for what it might be in us that brought such "judgment" upon us. Every catastrophe is a judgment of God, every heartache, every accident (as well as every blessing, triumph, and honor can and should be attributed and offered to Him). The "negatives" are not always or even usually punishments; He's not vengeful, there are things that others (such as terrorists) will to do us that harm us and that He does not prevent because they, like us, have free will under His creative act, which makes all human beings bearers of His likeness (in their free will)...but in that He is sovereign, everything that happens does so in His permissive will and it's His will that we try to understand in terms that accord with His goodness and that (even though we see through the glass darkly), all things work together for good to those who love Him and are seeking Him and His will. But things don't all happen together immediately or even sometimes in this life.

Remember the story, posted here a week or so ago, about the boy, Shay, whose father saw at least a glimmer into the meaning of the boy's suffering when it inspired so much nobility in his baseball-playing friends? So....

If God in his wisdom decides out with the Anti-abortion, conservative George Bush and in with the Pro-choice, liberal John Kerry we are not to complain or question because this is what God wants for us?

He doesn't say we can't complain. Moses complained, Jonah complained... prophets generally major in complaining (about conditions in the world but not about God's part in their existence—God wants and uses complainers!); most human beings complain directly or indirectly about God's provision or perceived lack thereof. But the most faithful pray (instead of just complaining) for insight, patience, and wisdom into His plan. Sometimes He knows it has to get worse before it gets better, even if that might not seem fair in our perspective. Abortion and infanticide were so bad in ancient Rome that the Christian teaching on them struck so many people as a wise and beneficent alternative that in a few decades it became an idea whose time had come, and both practices were outlawed throughout the cultures descended from Rome for almost two millenia thereafter.

And if this is so...then God chose the morally deprived Bill Clinton to be our President for two terms because he felt we deserved him?

And there can be no doubt that He chose Ahab and Jezebel to rule over Israel, despite their totally evil lifestyle and governing style,—ancient Israel, over which He had more specific claims than He holds over America.

And if God chose Clinton...are we not questioning God's will by our constant snapping at the heels of the Clintons long after they are 'gone'?

Absolutely not. The prophets snapped much more vociferously against Ahab and Jezebel, and so should any free believer who sees evil in high or not-so-high places rail against the evil. And by what standard, what interpretation of the word, can the Clintons be said to be "gone"? They are by far the most influential leaders of the largest political party in America to this very day and they are most likely going to remain highly influential for decades to come. How can you even suggest that Hillary is "gone": she's hardly started her rise, and how could anyone doubt that she'll raise up Bill with her, again, in her ascendancy, if God permits that?

And don't you think that prayer is subjective? ie; my prayer is important because it's my prayer. (Or is that the mindset of a selfish person...?)

What other kind of person is there? Cynics would say that even the altruists are in for it for the glory, honor, and Nobel prizes. I've never read the testimony of a saint who didn't consider him/herself selfish.

One person might pray for more profound things like world peace, a desperate mother whose child is dying from AIDS might pray for a total recovery, while a die-hard Steelers fan might pray for a Super Bowl victory. And if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, but strife goes on in the world, and the AIDS victim dies, then we can assume that God sees the prayer for the Steelers' victory in the super bowl as more worthy than prayers for the sick or world peace?

Praying for anything without the "thou will be done" caveat and attitude is apart from the expressed will of God. It may be good for getting someone started talking to "God," but if it never leads beyond asking for favors from God, it's virtually worthless.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Chuckles

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz  

Thought for today

He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

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