Why should we want God to leave things the way they are today?
Because we have a chance to do better if we try. God sent His word to us through the Old Testament prophets that He was a God who demanded our devotion, He wanted our obedience or He would punish us. That did not get the job done so He had to use a different strategy. Of course that is where Jesus came into the picture as God decided to use a different way to get us to choose a better life over the one we were leading. Jesus showed people mercy and He showed that we could depend on that also. When we fail He forgives. When we slip, as we are bound to do, He figures that in our equation. He does not expect us to be perfect but He does expect us to go through the learning process called the Christian life.
We can’t fit into God’s shoes. We can’t understand God’s ways.
Think about Job. God allowed him to go through trials and tribulations. He was tested. He suffered and yet he held onto his belief in God. He did not understand what God was doing but God knew what Job would do and Job and God won in the end.
In our lives today, maybe God wants us to learn. The Bible speaks of being refined and shaped just as the blacksmith forges rough mental or the potter shapes a lump of clay. Maybe that is the way to think of how we learn to deal with our own personal, private evil.
Perhaps it’s a learning process that God wants us to go through. The Bible speaks of God “refining” and “shaping” his creation, much as a blacksmith forges rough metal into a sharpened sword or a sculptor forms a beautiful vase from a lump of clay. Trying times often make us more than we were before—strengthening our characters, humbling our egos, and demonstrating the positives of perseverance. Coming through a tragedy can also be a faith-building experience that leads us to look beyond our narrow, self-centered view.
The bottom line is this: evil is in the world today and we participate in it daily. Let’s not nitpick by saying well I don’t murder, I don’t have affairs, I don’t steal. Let’s not feel good about ourselves because we don’t do the “big ones.” We practice ungodliness, we are discontent, we are unthankful, we are prideful, we are selfish, we lack self-control, we get impatient and irritable, we get angry, we are judgmental, we have envy and jealously and we have various sins of the tongue. Add to all of this the pull of the world. What do we watch? What do we read? What do we listen to? We have a long list of failings and I am not sure that God had a sliding scale for sin. We think He does but I am not sure that He does.
Are you like me?
Do you want a little more time to get it right?
Do you want a little more time to learn how to be a better person?
Do you need a few more turns on the potter’s wheel?
Keep spinning that wheel God! Keep hitting that hot metal with that hammer!
I believe I can do better. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” [2 Peter 3:9].