Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
How do you value life? Are some lives more worthy than others of living, success, joy? Do we see sin and weigh it as the world or from the Lord's perspective?
I was once taught in Sunday School that the world sees sins as a flat bar graph.
The world views some sins are value as more "sinful" than others. A white lie will be less "sinful" than murder of an innocent child - no matter the motive - from the world's perspective.
Our heavenly Father sees sin in a different way; from the top!
We watch the news and we think when one "thug" shoots another "thug" in a drug deal "gone bad"; well "You live by the gun... You die by the gun" Our society plays video games where the entertainment of the game is to kill as many characters as possible to get the highest score. Hollywood produces motion pictures that glamorize violence at a faster and faster pace every year. Society as a whole has desensitized itself to violence. Our Lord has not.
The Bible tells a story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17: 17-24. Elijah was living in wicked times, no more so than we live in today. Wickedness was so rampant that the Lord told Elijah that He was going to punish His people for their wickedness by sending a drought to the whole land. He then told Elijah to go to Sidon to a widow's home and ask her for lodging and food. She told him that she was down to her last supplies: A smidgen of flour and a dash of oil. After making one more meal for herself and her son, she planned to die of starvation. She considered herself as good as dead. But she had faith in God's words that Elijah told her. She made Elijah a loaf of bread, and she still had a little flour and oil left. From that day forward for months; she, Elijah and her son had just enough flour and oil remained for another meal—just as the Lord had said.
Elijah was doing what the Lord commanded, this widow was doing what Elijah told her that the Lord wanted her to do; so why after months of having their needs met did her son die? She was doing everything right. She knew from living with Elijah all these months and listening to God's word that Elijah surely shared with her that she was a sinner, just as we all are. She may have felt the weight of her sin very intensely at the moment of her son's death. Suddenly, playing by the "rules" and doing all that the Lord asked of her was now costing her. It wasn't smooth sailing with rainbows and unicorns with feelings of joy and a fever for God that we all experience when we first become new Christians.
In her grief, she raged in anger at Elijah. She asked the question we have all asked at times "Why??? Why me? Why my child, my husband, my parents???" "What have I done to deserve this? What have they done to deserve this?"
I know I thought when I accepted the gift of salvation that Christ died to give me; that I was home-free! No more would the griefs and burdens of this world drag me down. But just as this widow, being a new convert to God, lashed out in anger to God and Elijah when her son dies; I too have definitely had moments of anger and doubt when I have screamed and cried my heart out over what ,seemed at the time, too painful to bear and asked the very same questions and felt the same shame and guilt!
Martin Luther wrote that we can have no influence over God. He is not answerable to us. However, Luther also wrote, “We [do] have something to do with [God] insofar as He is clothed and set forth in His Word, through which He offers Himself to us” (LW 33:139).
Luther couldn't deny this truth and we cannot deny, that God lets terrible events take place in this world. And often, we have no idea why except that our sin (that is, the sin of mankind) is behind it. We can take heart in the promise from God in the Bible that He will never leave us, nor forsake us and that He is working all things for our good; whether we can see it or not. The world may laugh and jeer at Christians; at times it has persecuted us unto death, but the ultimate truth that secures us in this sinful world is that we are called to walk in is that God is still on His throne and Jesus sits at His right side and the Holy Spirit is interceding for us night and day! All because of His simple, unchanging, furious, jealous, all encompassing love for us! We are loved! We may not have our child brought back to life to restore our faith as the widow in this story, but we are promised in Psalms 30:5 " For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
That morning may be a long time coming, but brothers and sisters in Christ; IT IS COMING!!!! REJOICE!!!!