February 16, 2016
You are not going to believe the week I have had. I mean you just will not believe it! I like bagels. Not the store bought kind, but a good New York deli bagel. No doubt sometimes I have to settle for the “pretenders” (yuck!), but nothing can compare to the “boiled then baked” bagels that one gets in many places in Jewish communities. I have a special recipe that I have developed over these many years. It’s brilliant. What I do is cut them in half and put on a thin coating of butter. Sometimes (depending on the kind of bagel) I sprinkle on some garlic salt, then put them in the broiler until slightly brown, slather on cream cheese (and green olives if we have them)… heavenly. So I was making my bagel. The butter was applied and as I transferred it to the mini oven… I fumbled it and it fell on the floor! It all happened in slow motion… as it was tumbling through the air, I was screaming to myself:, “NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO…” (in slow motion of course). BUT, miracle of miracles… it landed butter side up! Can you believe it? BUTTER SIDE UP! When does that EVER happen?! So I picked it up, brushed off the cat hair (okay, not really) and into the oven it went. Like I said… you just won’t believe it.
It only got better after that. The next day I put on a pair of pants that I had not worn in a while. At one point I put my hand into my pocket and pulled out a $20.00 bill! Seriously… 20 dollars! Can you believe it? I was there and I can’t believe it! First the bagel and then the money. I am on a hot streak. I might even be indestructible. Today I’m going to run with scissors. Not the sissy kind with the rounded ends that we used in 1st grade, but the actual pointy ones. I mean what could possibly happen? Or maybe I’ll go over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Why not? How dangerous can it be? I might even shoot a BB gun without goggles. Yep, for some reason God has chosen to cast His shadow of blessing upon me.
Alright, time to take my tongue out of my cheek.
I remember in seminary many years ago one of our professors asked us this question: “Do you think there are things that God doesn’t really care about?” Read the question again. What do you think? This particular professor was/is one of THE premiere New Testament scholars in the world. What do you suppose he said? Wait for it… wait for it…. He said this, “Yes, I believe there are things in the world that God doesn’t really concern Himself with or care about. For example do you think God really cares about whether you picked a blue or green shirt to wear today?” I was stunned. I had never heard or thought about the notion that the “all seeing, all hearing, all knowing, all loving” God of the universe could be… indifferent… to some things. If it’s true… that there are things God does not particularly care about… well, we don’t live our lives that way.
From our perspective, God cares about everything, and if it is “good or even neutral” by our standards then it must be from God. If it is “bad” by our standards then it must not be from God. (By the way, the problem with the previous sentence is the “by our standards” part.) For those who think that “bad” things are never from God… um… begin at Genesis 1 and read for a while. We just can’t find it in us to believe that God is really the God of the Old Testament. We don’t want to believe in or worship a God who doesn’t have the same standards we do. Or who doesn’t have the same concerns and interests we have, i.e., if it’s important to us it must be important to God. Really?
Henry Blackaby in his landmark Bible Study Series “Experiencing God” writes about how we should go about discerning God’s will. One of the things he says is this: Do not go before God in prayer with any preconceived notions or agendas. You get that? Start with “nothing.” Allow God to deal with you as an empty slate. Seriously do you know anyone who does that? I would be very surprised if you did.
That being said:
7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Yeah right! That sounds okay for an Old Testament prophet but we all have too much at stake to just put ourselves out there and do and believe whatever Gods wants us to. That’s why we have developed a God who agrees with us and who has the same values and standards that we do. The other option is too scary, too unpredictable and too hard.
So… yes. God cares about everything that I care about. That’s why He put $20.00 into my pocket to please me and turned that bagel ½ more revolution before it hit the floor.
By the way… I have some property to sell you in the Everglades.