Hultner Estrada & Dave Stienstra
What kind of father sends his son off to be tortured? Such a father, could easily be considered inhuman. A God such as, could certainly not be the God of the universe.
These lines illustrate the Greek mindset that antagonized the message of Paul in the first century. Jews demand signs and gentiles argue through reason. “Our gospel of Christ crucified is hard for Jews to accept, and everyone else thinks our message is foolish”, we hear the aposlte reveal in his report. “But there are those God has chosen, both Jews and others. To them Christ [crucified] is God’s power and God’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1).
Oddly enough, the ancient Greek mentality still powerfully affects the way we see God, the scriptures, and the world today. In a post-modern era in which feelings and individual comfort have taken the lead, people prefer to hear from a friendly God, guarantor of security and happiness, rather than a Master who invites us to take up a cross every day.
Indeed, the Bible says God is love, that He defines himself as an advocate, provider, and Savior, but it also warns us that we live in a dangerous world and that we are likely to face tribulation (John 16:33)
Trusting in a God who is good but doesn’t necessarily conform to the current standards of “security” is not easy. It takes conviction. It takes a humble faith to embrace those moments of pain and suffering as our participation in the suffering of Christ –the fullest expression of the wisdom and power of God.
The Greeks could not accept the sacrifice of the Son of God was the vehicle used by the Father to bring salvation and restoration to all creation. Likewise today, many people still struggle with the idea that a loving God will allow pain and suffering affect the lives of His children.
As those who have decided to believe, we accept the risk of walking the path of difficulty, but with the confidence that the power and wisdom of God will be manifested, and God will act through those painful moments and everything will work for the good of His Kingdom.
Through this brief post, The Nehemiah Center would like to send a word of encouragement and solidarity to several brothers, transformational leaders, who are going through very difficult circumstances. We are remembering and praying for many members of our community who are suffering the loss of loved ones, health complications, and other troubles and attacks.
The courage and resilience of each of these friends, as Paul would say, to quench the fury of the flames, to draw strength from weakness and to stay strong in the battle, encourages us to continue trusting in the sovereignty and care of the Lord even when we are in the center of the difficulty.
“If truth is that God will allow their children
pass through the fire,
is also true that he will be with them
amid the flames. “