We are prone to say things and act without giving it much thought. Paul, the Apostle, what did he mean when he wrote, “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor.2: 8)? The question is, had they known, would we have redemption? Paul had a tendency to make a comment and then make us search his writings to determine what he meant. In this case, he argued that ignorant leaders did God’s bidding. God’s Spirit deliberately clouded their minds so that they would do what was necessary (I Cor.1: 18-25). The bad that humans do, God turned into something that benefits all of us. The Hebrews knew that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sin (Heb.9: 22). Paul too agreed, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in you sins” (I Cor.15: 17). This was one time when human ignorance served us well. God turned what was bad into what is good.
Jesus had a similar encounter with Peter. He disclosed His intention to His disciples that He had to suffer, die and be raised from the dead. Peter was against it and Jesus rebuked Satan instead, “Out of my sight, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Mk.8: 31-33). “For, even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk.10: 45). During Jesus’ arrest, Peter drew the sword and the Lord told him to put it away and asked this question, “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way”(Mt.26: 51-54)? God’s will has to be done and there was no way around the cross. What about Judas? Did he not have to do what he did? Jesus urged him, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (Jn.13: 27). Even his betrayal God turned into our favor.
Granted, God can turn things around, but can we? The answer is yes! While we have breath in us, we can make the best of a bad situation. I do know, first hand, what it takes to turn a life around. Fifty-nine years ago, I was disabled in a fire and was left with two alternatives. I could survive on my disability or I could embark on a career where a disabled one could succeed. It took nine years to put me back on my feet and begin to be productive. And when I retired, I became even more productive through writing. My last change came about when I was treated for cancer. It was not easy because cancer was trying to disable me mentally. Literally, I had to conquer the ill will within me. To my surprise, God had endowed me with sufficient energy to disarm defeatism within me (I Jn.4: 4).
I am not an exception. No one has to let unintended or intended things disable us. I too had influential voices discourage me; but, I listened only to those that cheered me on. It is more difficult today because of the false promises political leaders make that the system, they represent, can take care of us. I know because it almost robbed me of my willingness to make it on my own. It is so much easier to hand out a few Dollars than to help people become independent. Give yourself a chance and let God surprise you. He can show you how much there is in you that can make a dent in this world, but first in your life. However, in order for us to succeed, we must put some intentions behind our actions. Even when we make mistakes, God can use them for our benefit.
Change is painful and costly. Easter is proof that God does turn evil into good. Never before in history did a generation face what we are facing. There always have been wars, but none as threatening as today. The Great Alexander and the Caesars were small in comparison to what we are facing. Their kingdoms fell apart by deception and betrayal and that trend has ruined every earthy power. Out of the ashes God raised up new nations in order to preserve humanity from extinction. The U.S.A. was such a beacon. It once was a missionary of peace, then it became a war machine and now it is running out of steam. Yet, our leaders keep on feeding the monster that is swallowing us up. Our monster is a “self imposed greatness” that no longer is sustainable. By policing the world, America has starved herself and keeps on doing so. Even at this juncture, if we would do what Nineveh did, God might take up residence among us again. The door God can use to return to us is Jesus and we have closed it. It was in Jesus that God has shown His mercy and He has not run out of it. Will we let God turn things around? What do you think?