The Greatest Gifts

Note: This is a post adapted from yet another Dixon’s Musings post.

In light of the many miseries of the world, many often wonder where God factors into all of it.  We wonder why God allows evil men to walk among us, men who seek to slaughter, to destroy.  In a world where earthquakes rend the land and tornadoes tear up the very foundations of the places we call home, why does God not let the Earth lay at rest?  Does He even care at all?

If He is all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop all of the disasters and cruelties of the world?

It goes back to Eden.  When Adam partook of the fruit, he did more than simply sin, he did more than simply curse us.  Something that is all but forgotten these days, with the rise of secularism and naturalism, is the presence of the supernatural. All the things that we do influence the supernatural and, likewise, the supernatural seeks to influence us.  When Adam chose to disobey God, he didn’t merely do a bad thing, like a child who has fibbed or a dog who pooped on the carpet. He surrendered the world to Satan. His choice gave power to Satan to dominate and corrupt the world.

This begs the question of why God doesn’t use his unlimited power to simply stop Satan? If He is truly so strong, and the devil His own rebellious creation, why does He just say “Stop!” and put an end to it all?

For reasons beyond our understanding, it seems that God has “rules of engagement” of some form in place on Himself.  These rules seem to give Satan some degree of freedom to sow chaos where he wills (before he is finally sealed away as foretold in the book of Revelation) without interference from God. This is best exemplified in the book of Job, where the Lord allows Satan to do what he wills to Job. God then uses Satan’s depredations to show the importance of faith and the value of His promises.

Naturally, the Lord doesn’t violate these restrictions, either. He would have no grounding on which to command us to follow His commandments for our own lives. It would make God hypocritical and inconsistent to violate His own laws, thus nullifying everything in the Bible.

Yet, God refused to leave us at the mercy of a being who seeks to corrupt and destroy us, to sunder us from the One who created us.  At first, His grace and mercy was largely reserved for his people, the Hebrews. The world was wicked and corrupt, and very often not even His chosen people obeyed him. He created laws and rituals for them to obey, but the task was insurmountable for mere men.

Then Jesus came.

Once before, God had given up on humanity.  Were it not for the righteousness of Noah, all of the world would have perished.  Yet God did not destroy us and our future.  Furthermore, He set in motion a greater plan, one that would not bring about destruction, but salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)  After thousands of years of separation from him, God gave us all the means to return to Him,  He gave us a way to be absolved of our sins, to know that there is more to out lives than misery and the fear of the unknown.  To know that there is more to the universe than what we see before out eyes.

Despite our flaws and our failings, God loves us still.

Yet, Jesus’ coming is not the only proof of God’s love.

When God made us, he made us rational beings.  He gave us the ability to think and make decisions.  More than that, however, He gave us the freedom to make choices.  He gave us free will.

Our God made us free people.  He saw no purpose in forcing us to follow him, as if we were machines.  He saw no need to make us slaves to his will, compelled to act only as he saw fit.  Surely there are consequences for our actions; to sin and be in rebellion against God will lead us to an eternity none of us can fathom.  However, the existence of consequences does not make the freedom that choice grants us any less wonderful.

The fact that a God who could do anything opted to allow us to freely choose him may very well be the greatest gift of all.

So, yes, the world is broken.  There are griefs and miseries innumerable in the world.  It is also a world of beauty, a world with a savior.  A savior who would have never come had a loving God not willed it.

Merry Christmas all!

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