Wednesday, August 13, 2008

God's Messy Love

I'm not going down to the Corn Carnival right now. I am signed up to help at the stand but I haven't spent much time at my desk today. I asked Toni to call me if I'm needed. Life does go on beyond the Corn Carnival! Some prayer & care needs we're aware of and there is personal & family stuff to deal with. I plan to be out of town tomorrow so won't do much here then. So I'm thinking ahead a bit to Sunday's sermon.

One of the most difficult incidents from Jesus' life is where he says "It's not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." He says that when a woman comes to him to get help for her daughter. You can read the story by clicking here - start at Matthew 15:22.

To be fair, you need to know the rest of the story. The woman's response to Jesus' rude remark is "'Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.' Jesus answered, 'Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.' And her daughter was healed instantly."

I hope Jesus knew that the woman would not be deterred by his rude remark. I am thankful for the woman's bold reply. I'm thankful that the incident ended well. Because it did, we can use it as a lesson to help anyone who feels worthless, ignored or abused. It's good to be bold even in the face of negative authority--even when it seems God is not on your side.

These difficult passages in the Bible help us, I think, in dealing with what seems to be a messy world. Things aren't so nice all the time. Sometimes God seems to be against us. Martin Luther said, in a 1525 sermon, that "the heart has to turn away from its feelings and must comprehend and hold fast the deep, secret yes that is under and above the 'no' with solid faith in God’s word, as this simple woman does."

In this difficult passage, this woman knows the REAL truth. She, and all people, are worthy of grace, no matter what anyone says. Even God may say you are a sinner and deserving of nothing but hell. But amazingly, God takes the penalty on himself! He is the one who becomes worse than a dog for you and me. That truth comes clear only on the cross, when Jesus dies for all the sinful and unworthy of the world.

I don't always like how the Bible is put together, but even in the hard, messy parts, God's love shines through.

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