God said, sort of - Part 2
Where were we? Oh, yes. Guidance.
When we had this big discussion with a few cobbers on the
subject, none of us claimed to have covered it completely. To do that we'd
need to quote some five hundred pages of the Bible, and most details from our
rather lengthy lifespan.
That's hard work. We're just summarising, so we'll keep
Much guidance is only obvious in hindsight. Some months ago,
we told you about Terry. He was in the right place at the right time, and met
the right bloke simply because he wanted a coffee at McDonalds. If you care to
get all theological, it's a hands-on, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art example
of (quote) 'We have the mind of Christ'. All very normal. Almost
Except that, for believers, for you and us, nothing is
unspiritual. (Whatever that means.) Sure, we've heard challenging sermons on
the Great Commission. Great. Well, this is a matter-of-fact article on the Great
Apprenticeship. God signed you up at an historic moment known as 'before the
foundation of the world'. You started serving your time when the midwife
snipped your umbilical cord. And you realised you'd been set up by the biggest
family firm there is 'when it pleased God to reveal His Son in you'.
So all life is designed as an interaction 'twixt God and
you. With others -– believers, unbelievers, angels, demons -– thrown in for
good measure. The clever bit is to learn from hindsight, and to watch out for
on-coming clues. Here's the name of one set of clues:
Don't let your little rationalist friends fool you on this.
You know the type -– you tell them about something you needed and prayed about
and God somehow supplied. 'Coincidence', they shrug.
Tell 'em to get real; get a life; get a dictionary.
Coincidence means, purely and simply, something that happens
at the same place and time as something else. It does not (let's shout that
word: NOT) mean 'accidental'. But it is up to you to decide that a
coincidence is an Act of God. Get that one right and you're onto a winner. Or,
as scripture puts it more elegantly: 'In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He
will direct your paths'. Same difference.
So look for coincidences. We're right in the slap-ban
middle of a bit of the Lord's leadings as we tap these words into the
computer. It'll be a full article when the dust settles, but as of now it's
like crossing a swirling river on stepping stones that appear just one at a
time. Lots of fun. And with enough God-type clever twists to impress even
hard-bitten old cynics like us.
(No -– that was a joke; the sort where emailers put a smiley
face to show they're only kidding. The fact is, we're still just kids, still
impressed out of our socks at what the Boss does. Sure, we know that -–
technically -– He can do everything from creating the universe to brewing
gallons of grog for a local wedding, but when it involves us, as in personally,
we tend to break into a tap-dance in the middle of the street. Crazy.)
Recognise the coincidences as they happen, and you build up
your faith. You find the joy factor even in deep trouble. You don't spook at
setbacks. And (to a limited extent -– because we still tend to grumble) you
accept that there really is a purpose in some of the baffling tangles that life
sometimes engineers -– and one day (maybe not until that Day) you'll
say 'Of course!' and really understand.
You see, like we said, this is just the apprenticeship. We
have to take on trust what big project we'll be on once we qualify. Scripture
only throws out somewhat breathless hints, like 'Eye has not seen, nor ear
heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him'.
So, okay, there needn't be any cute 'n' corny Hollywood
happy-ever-after in this life, because the real ta-dah, wow-ee, this-is-it
must wait until Jesus returns to take the surrender of planet Earth. That's
when we qualify.
For example, think of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in
Budapest during WWII. Instead of being content with the playboy life of an heir
to an ancient European banking fortune, he totally dedicated himself to rescuing
Jews from being deported to the Nazi death camps, even facing down the coldly
calculating Adolph Eichman, entrusted by Hitler with the task of achieving the
Raoul Wallenberg and a small embassy staff produced documents
to convince the Nazis that many Jews were in fact Swedish citizens. He
requisitioned dozens of large buildings, making them Swedish - neutral -–
territory, thus legally out-of-bounds to German investigation.
Upwards of one hundred thousand Jews had their lives snatched
from death by this man. We met the son of one such person: Tommy Lapid, the
outspoken, larger-than-life MK (Israeli member of parliament).
Clearly, someone like Raoul Wallenberg who pushed his way
into the stinking, overcrowded cattle trucks to thrust Swedish ID papers into
desperate Jewish hands with a total disregard for his own safety -– clearly
such a man is slated for a reward from God. But that wasn't destined to happen
when the war ended in 1945.
Raoul left the Swedish embassy, having survived Eichman's
threats and attempts on his life, only to be kidnapped by the Soviets and end
his days jailed somewhere in Siberia.
The Russians claimed he died in 1947. Released prisoners
report meeting him even in recent times. Some people still believe him to be
But why, why, why?
Those who know the ways of the Lord better than we do, will
say it's 'unfinished business'. And one day, Raoul Wallenberg and you and
we will understand. We will say 'Of course!'. We will rejoice at what makes
John the Baptiser. Yrmiyahu, better known by us as Jeremiah.
Early Christians under Nero. Latimer and Ridley.
And a Swede named Raoul.
Plus heaven knows how many others.