Monday, April 4, 2011

For God So Loved The World ... He Did Something Odd

God has done some very odd things over the years and yet we expect him to operate within what we consider normality. I actually like the oddness of our God because he makes it clear that it is his hand at work and not some kind of coincidence. Now we can talk about odd, as in big time stuff, or odd, as in personal stuff so I am going to start with personal and then move to big time.

Last week I went with some of my friends from my church to sit under the ministry of a prophet friend of ours. This prophet is pretty special to me because he had spoken into my life at a very crucial moment of transition for me and my family. He brought the clarity of the Father's will, which was only a confirmation of what was already on my heart, during a very difficult time in my life. However, any time I have sat under his ministry I have done so with a bit of nervousness because of how God used him and because when I see him it usually means change. However, this time was different.

Without going into too much detail let me simply say that he told me that some things I had been contending with in prayer had been dealt with and God was going to show me in the coming week it was done, just with a bit of encouragement. The next day God did an odd thing. My son had lost his $300 glasses in the snow outside of the school last November. He is practically blind without them but I could not afford to replace them. We had a lot of snow this year and the snowplow had been around a lot. I have insurance on the glasses but I needed the pieces to replace it. So I had offered a $10 award if anyone could find the pieces. Well, on that first day after the prophet spoke into my life the glasses were suddenly found. They were found sitting on top of the snow, all in one piece. After they were cleaned off we discovered there was no rust, no scratches, no damage at all. It gets better.

I handed the glasses back to my grateful son who looked them over. He turned back to me and told me something was wrong. He asked where the scratches were. I told him that God had looked on us with favour and had protected the glasses through the winter. He said, "No dad. I mean where are all the scratches that were on it before I lost my glasses?" He had been rough with his glasses and had put some major scratches all along one side but the glasses he held in his hand now looked brand new. God was giving me a clear message about some things for which I had been contending in prayer. It was done, he was telling me. As impossible as it might seem, it was done, he was making things brand new again. Pretty odd and amazing stuff.

God specializes in the odd just so we know it is him. If we look at Israel's history we will see many odd happenings, not the least of which is the plague of poisonous snakes that were used to bring correction to Israel before they had come into the Promised Land. The snakes were not the odd part but the manner in which God saved them was. God could have ended this any way he wanted to but he instructed Moses to create an image of a snake, to put it on a pole and lift it up. He declared that anyone who looked on this image would be saved from the effects of the poison. That's a very odd thing to do but it was a foreshadowing of a greater thing he would do. If he could save people from poisonous snakes in this manner, could he not also save man from the plague of his poisonous sins in a similar manner? This is what Jesus explained to Nicodemus:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

This seems like a rather odd, possibly even cruel, thing to consider; that a father could sacrifice his son in such a cruel manner in order to give people an opportunity to be saved from death. What father could make such a decision even for people he knew and loved let alone for his enemies. The Word tells us that due to our sin we were considered enemies of God. Yet, he sacrificed his Son so that he could be lifted up and everyone who chose to believe would be saved:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

What is even more odd is that these are the words of the Son as he tells us, before the event, that he is about to be sacrificed. People look at this and consider it to be too odd to even ponder. Why would God choose to do it this way? The answer isn't complicated: he's God, he can choose to do it any way he wants and he wants to do it in such a way that we realize it is him. There were some spiritual laws in play here that made this the only possible way to save us but we should not allow the oddness to be a deterrent for us. The fact is our Father loves us deeply and he longs to remove the one thing that separates us from him. His longing is reconciliation with his creation and he has chosen to do that through the sacrifice of his Son so that he can make a new creation; that we would all become sons and daughters.

If you take the time to understand it you will discover a beautiful love story between God and those who had become his enemy; between the Creator and his creation; between a Father and those he chose to make his children. Perhaps it is odd that the Creator of all things would want us as his children but that is how he does things and it is we who benefit from his great love and generosity. Then again, we should ask what is the greatest oddity, that the Father would save us through the lifting up of his Son on the cross, or that people would reject such a great act of love? My friends, let us insure that we have looked upon Jesus and made the decision to believe and accept this sacrifice, so that we are all saved from the certainty of our destruction.

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