When Will We We Ever Learn?
We went to pay our respects to a friend of ours, who died recently. His life, lately, had been a real testimony to God's power, as Peg had known him many years ago .. they worked together in the 1970' .. and God had done remarkable work in Marvin's life.
His visitation was at the old building complex of Gardendale First Baptist Church, so our trip out there and back took us along the edges of some areas that had been hit by the April 27 tornado, and for some reason, I was struck by the immensity of God's power. That the storm was a mere breath from God's nostrils, so to speak. That Jesus could have spoken "Peace" to the storm and it would have ceased.
When we got home a few minutes later, the TV was showing clips of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. And that God had said there'd be some of those, which further leads me to believe He has something to do with those things, too.
I was again speechlessly thunderstruck at the awesome nature and power and presence of God.
My thoughts then turned to how we relate to Him. First in the thought process was the seemingly common thought that "Abba", which Jesus used in a statement concerning His Father, is the same as "Daddy". A term of familiarity. I tell you, that thought has always frightened me, as I don't believe I could ever be "familiar with" God. He is GOD.
And considering His record and achievements and abilities and nature, I want always to hold Him in reverence. Here's what my Thayer's says:
"father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee "ABBA" through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue."
Whereas, my Computer Bible Strong's says:
"Of Aramaic origin, father (as a vocative case)."
The vocative case is the case of a noun used to identify the person addressed. For instance, I am father, but only my own sons can call me "Father" in the vocative case. So what we're told in Romans and elsewhere is that we can address the Heavenly Father is "my Father". Not daddy, ol' buddy ol' pal.
Even as our Father, he's still God. And He's always God.
On the way home, I thought of the ramifications of this. How should this regard for God be manifested in our life?
Every way conceivable.
When I taught Sunday School, my objective was to be the best SS teacher in the world. Now I know I cannot ever attain that, at least not as long as Elwyn Stafford is still around. He is the best. But I figure if my aim is less than that, then those sitting under my teaching are going to get short-changed.
There's an old adage that says "If you settle for less than what's coming to you, you'll get even less than you settled for! I kind of figure that applies to Spiritual things, too .. if I settle for less than what God has in mind for me, I'm going to get less than I settled for. And if I settle for less than being the best teacher I can possibly be, I'm going to fall short of what I did settle for.
This post has kind of been languishing in my draft column, waiting for me to finish it. But now, as I sit typing this, I'm listening to the live TV broadcast of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. And I am reminded of what all happened in Alabama in April, and that all those storms were the merest breath of air from God's nostrils.
The quake in Japan, and the resulting tsunami, were the merest twitch of God's incalculable muscle. And His ultimate control over all that He spoke into existence all those years ago.
And we take Him lightly. We show up late, we stay home, we speak to brothers and sisters, completely ignoring Jesus own commands to love one another as He has loved us, and paying no attention to the admonishment that the hallmark of those who follow Him will be the love we show one for another.
I'm not going to argue about whether God allowed, or caused, all these storms. To me, whichever is OK with me, and doesn't change Him or His nature, one bit. He is SOVEREIGN, folks, and He can do as He pleases, when He pleases, however He pleases, wherever He pleases.
In fact, He is.