You know the one ... "If God is all powerful, could He build something so big He couldn't move it?"
Well there are a lot of funny answers, like "yes, but it'd take forever to build". But the plain truth is: There is no such thing.
Same thing goes for everything that pertains to what God can or cannot do. Like saving what we view as the most despicable of human beings.
There has been a murder trial going on here in Shelby County which has gotten a lot of attention around here. It concerns the murder of three young men in a drug deal that eventually went bad.
bad. Three murders over $40!
One reason it got so much attention here is that it happened about 2 blocks from our home, right in our subdivision. It's a twisty subdivision, though, and the house is probably less than 200 yards from our house.
If you think that's frightening to us, fear not. We're used to it. There was a quadruple murder 17 years ago, even closer to our house.
The picture up there is Mr. Jon Staggs, Jr, the suspect in the case. And, as of this afternoon, officially the murderer of those three young men.
The jury has found him guilty.
First reaction? He looks like
a bad guy. Second reaction, he looks
Also, he was found guilty of multiple counts of Capital Murder, which qualifies him for a ticket to a ride on "Yellow Mama", the infamous yellow electric chair at Kilby Prison here in Alabama. My reaction to that was "More power to the guy".
Thankfully, those were very brief reactions, and were followed immediately by a flood of other things; knowledge and reminders of things more important than Mr. Staggs.
Foremost was Dr. Charles Carter's sermon yesterday about God's will that people be saved. He pointed out that nobody
in Christendom back in the early days would have wanted Saul to be saved. Breathing murderous threats against believers, standing by and approving while a mob killed Stephen, and on his way to persecute another bunch of followers when God interrupted his plans.
It likely wasn't anybody else's will that Saul get saved that day, but it was God's.
Then there's David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer from New York. I've seen and heard testimonies about him, and seen some of his recent writings .. which definitely didn't come from a lost person.
God's will, interrupting things once again, in ways we'd never have expected.
Then there's Ted Bundy. Focus on the Family's Founder James Dobson interviewed him in his later days in prison, and told of his wonderful Christian testimony. You can see that interview here
, starting at the 12:00 mark.
And run-of-the-mill ordinary citizen murderers aren't the only ones. Manuel Noriega, a former Head of State of Panama, had a big-time down-front conversion experience in prison. It's said that he is serving God faithfully, even though still in prison in Panama.
I believe it was Max Lucado who called this aspect of salvation "the insult of the cross". The fact that God in His unfathomable love extends the same offer of salvation to people we somehow think ought to be beyond redemption. Some folks do seem to be upset that certain people they felt were beyond hope get miraculously saved, and after having lived such detestable lives, are saved and inherit the same Heaven as servants faithful nearly all their lives.
Remember Madalyn Murray O'Hair? The famous, or infamous, atheist? In 1960, she filed suit in Baltimore, against the School Board, claiming that the schools' forcing her son William Murray, to endure mandatory prayer at school, was somehow violating his civil rights. That suit was successful and, after being affirmed by the Supreme Court, effectively ended prayer in public schools in 1963.
I don't know, but I imagine there was a lot of resentment and angst caused by, and directed toward, her son as a result of that case.
Today, he's still William Murray, but he became a Christian in 1980 and now heads an organization he founded, the "Government Is Not God Foundation". They are devoted to defending the rights of Christians in the USA. You can read about him and his foundation here.
And I would note that he's genuine, too, as he was first called into the ministry while at a church pastored by a good friend of mine, Paul Burleson.
That last thing his momma would have wanted was for her son to be saved. But her wishes didn't stand a chance against God's will.
Which brings us back to the convicted murderer from my neighborhood, Mr. Jon Staggs, Jr. And my reaction to him, his picture, and his conviction. The reactions are, of course, entirely of my flesh. And I guess it's OK with me, as those reactions force me to decide that I must .. and I really want to
... have the same attitude toward him as Jesus would. Have the same view of him, as a sin-sick soul in need of redemption. In need of a Savior.
We might see him as beyond that. But I guarantee God doesn't.
A soul beyond redemption is like that object too big for God to move. It just doesn't exist. And I am glad of that.
Otherwise, I'd still be lost.
So would you.
Correction: My pastor tells me Yellow Momma has been retired in favor of lethal injections. So change that part to "an appointment with a sterile needle.....".