O is for Obstinance

OIt’s the middle of April and as you know, we are in the also in the middle of a race to determine the candidates for presidency. I don’t know about you, but at this point in the race, I am tired.

I’m tired of hearing the back and forth bickering, the name calling, the media coverage, and most tedious of all, the obstinate denials from all parties regarding untruths and failings in their past.

We all have failures. It’s what makes us human. What astonishes me is the fact that these individuals who are running for the most powerful position in our country believe that their failures will either go unnoticed or they will be dismissed because of charisma or – perhaps more correctly – money.

As I sat in church yesterday the thought struck me that we as followers of God are just as obstinate in our understanding of God and His direction for our lives. It’s as if we think if we just hold fast to our own feelings about something long enough, God will change His mind and come around to our way of thinking.

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I hate to break it to anyone reading, but this simply isn’t going to happen. The reason is that if God were to change His mind, that would suggest that He made a mistake in the first place. If He made a mistake, than that sort of eliminates the all knowing, omnipotent and omniscient thing doesn’t it?

To me, God is truly omniscient and omnipotent. There is no need for Him to change his mind or His direction. He also doesn’t need to be reminded of His love and grace. It is us that needs those reminders.

And we need them a lot.

We have needed them since the beginning of time because like the obstinate child or politician, we are unable to grasp that all of this is not about us; that there is a bigger purpose that we have the blessing of being a part of but that we are not the center of.

I was reminded of this yesterday as I was sitting in church listening to the homily. It continues to amaze me how dense the disciples were in their ability to understand the things Jesus was showing them and teaching them. It reminded me of a parent taking a long road trip with children.

This may sound a bit sacrilegious but go with me on this for a second.

It’s the mid-70’s and God has packed one of those giant station wagons full to the gills with kids of all ages and races in every available seat behind Him to drive across country.

Its God’s car, so it fits a LOT of kids.

As with all road trips I have ever been a part of, the rules of the car are established before they get into the car and everyone repeats the rules before the road trip begins, but before they can even make it out of town, Adam and Eve have broken the first rule.

Fine. Everyone settles down after the reprimands are handed out and they hit the road again.

But town after town, state after state, the same thing keeps happening. Kids break the rules, God pulls the car over, they discuss the rules, reprimands are handed out, everyone is rearranged in the car, and for a brief period of time, all is well.

But the peace never lasts.

Finally, there are those infamous words,”Don’t make me come back there!”

The whole car shudders at the ferocity in God’s voice, but even with this level of fear, the kids obstinately believe that if they just ask one more time or have the right kid ask God will give in.

This doesn’t happen.

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God stops the car and climbs in the back as Jesus. He sits among the children so He can show them all first hand what it is they are supposed to be doing as they travel (the Holy Sprit is driving, just in case you were worried about that).

After a period of time, God returns to the front to drive but the end result is still the same. Regardless of who is sat next to whom, all of the kids start bickering and fighting trying to pick who is the favorite, who is the strongest, who is the most loved, and on and on.

You can hear it, can’t you?

Now let’s look at this as it relates to our faith.

To this day, the Jewish people don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah because He didn’t look like the kind of King they wanted. God had tried to show them over and over again throughout history that Kingship over this world is not led by an iron fist, but that is not what they wanted to hear, nor did they want to give up the rules and guidelines they had worked so hard to create and practice. Those ideals were and are what defines them and they obstinately believe that God will provide what they have long been waiting for in the way they want  it.

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Christians often look to the Jewish people in sorrow and pity wishing they could just understand what we think we know, but as much as Christians like to believe we have it all figured out, the bickering in the car is the same.

Our rules as Christians are laid out in the doctrines and theologies of each denomination and sect. Pieces and parts of the Bible are picked apart and used as weapons against others just as the laws of the Pharisees and Sadducees were used back in the time of Christ and before.

The thing is that none of them – no denomination  or sect – is better than another. God did not send a part of Himself to this earth to divide His people more fully than we already were. But in our humanity, we are unable to accept that there may be more than one possible answer for a question that is so important – who is God and what is His purpose for us.

So we continue to bicker and fight our way through this long road trip we call life.

For me. I am currently seated in the seat behind the passenger seat looking out the window. I’m trying not to participate in the bickering and fighting, but it is so difficult!

Are you in the car with me? What seat are you in?

 

 

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