When God's Word Isn't Enough
It's finally been said, and when the Vatican announces it we all know it to be true. Jesus is not coming back. According to all the blogs and online news outlets the Catholic Church has thrown in the towel and decided to focus on image instead of the hope of Jesus' return. The proclamation was exposed by the Waterford Whisper News, a satirical website. It is obviously a hoax, but the sentiment is what many people believe.
The idea isn't anything new. The Apostle Peter had to deal with it when people asked, "where is the coming he promised." Evangelicals have changed their eschatology to account for the long delay, now we have Preterist theology. But the roots go even further back, at least all the way back to Gideon.
The Midianites had deveststed Israels economy. The children of God had gone to the hills to hide. Gideon was in a cave, threshing grain when the angel of the Lord came to him. This was Gideon's question, "Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?" It's a reasonable question.
The world can be cruel, and when hardship comes we cry out to God for deliverance, and the silence is discouraging. "Where is he?" Why did he let this happen?" "Why is there so much evil and tragedy in the world?" "Why do the wicked prosper?" "When are you coming back?" It has led many to abandon all hope and faith.
God lets the question pass and gives Gideon his call to deliver his people. Of course Gideon is afraid and balks, to which God responds, "the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you." It reminds me of Jesus' words to the disciples, "Go, make disciples." Oh yeah, "And I will be with you, even till the end of the age."
Fantastic! We have our call and we have the promise of his presence! But man it is so hard, and hasn't the end of the age come yet (not unless your a Preterist)? Gideon felt the same way. His faith had been squelched by persecution and time. He wanted assurances so he tested God by asking for signs. God in his mercy obliged him as he does for us as well. We ask for "fleeces" because our faith is weak. "Give me a sign, God, so I know you are with me."
When necessary God allows our weakness to be bolstered by signs, but what he really wants us to hold onto is what he has already given us. The signs that God gave Gideon weren't enough to make him victorious, it was the presence of God, "the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon."
The goodnews is that God's Spirit resides in all those who believe that Christ died for their sins and that he rose from the dead! He has clothed us with his Spirit. We have his gifts, his fruits, his armor, his power, and his purpose. We can face the troubles of today and tomorrow because he lives and he lives in us through his Spirit.
God's word is alway enough because it is the revelation of God to man. The Living Word is enough because he is the revelation of God in the flesh. The Spirit of God is enough because he is the revelatory presence of God in our midst. When life gets me down, and that happens more than I like, it is the promises of God in his word, and His presence through the Spirit that give me strength to carry on.
The world can question the return of Jesus all they want. My hope doesn't rest on them. I'm just saying.