I wondered as I began preparing for class this week. We are continuing the story of Esther and the author of the lesson plan wants to explore the risk of following you heart in service to Christ. Here in America, we rarely glimpse the risk of physical pain due to our beliefs, it is almost exclusively mental. Particularly the mocking of our faith, the laughter at such intellectual foolishness. Why would anyone follow a man that tells us to be content with, no, embrace this very moment in time, regardless of your physical circumstance?
Philippians 4:11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. 4:12I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.
What sense does that make to an American? Frankly, not much unless you are a believer and understand the meaning. But what does that mean to a couple in the slums of the Dominican Republic? Trinidad? Something very different, I imagine, as I’ve seen both great wealth and miserable, unbearable poverty in those places. As I was meditating today, I recalled this passage from The Boy Who Cried Abba:
There are some people who have fashioned me into their own image and refer to me in grand language as the Supreme Being. But they really do not want a supreme being who has been spit upon and ridiculed. They don’t want a supreme being who eats with criminals and the outcasts. When they feel that they have been abandoned by El Shaddai, when their lives fill with loneliness, rejection, failure and depression, when they are deaf to everything but the shriek of their own pain, then their trust in El Shaddai vanishes as quickly as last night’s dream. They dismiss me as a loser, saying that my ministry was a failure, that my life made no difference, that I am only a naked, ineffective, executed pretender. They say that trust in El Shaddai is nice for women, children, the senile and the naive. But when the chips are down, when they fear they’ll lose all their money or when their safety is threatened, they are convinced that nothing is going to happen unless they make it happen. They are fair weather friends and they don’t want the real Me.