Updated: Nov 11, 2020
With the world in turmoil, how in the world do we find peace? Where is God in all of this? Tim Keller, in a video conference on March 24, told this story (probably fiction).
“A group of lumber jacks began working in a new stand of pines. One of them noticed a bird beginning to make his nest in one of the trees to be cut. So, he pounded his axe on the trunk of the tree to scare the bird away, so she could nest in a safer place.
But the bird just flew to another tree and began building again. So the lumberjack again pounded on the tree and again the bird moved. Doing this several times the bird finally built her nest safely on a large, tall cliff of rocks. Safe at last.”
Keller made these observations;
What that bird didn’t know was, all the trees in the forest are coming down eventually. For every man, woman and child, death will come. All our safe trees will come down, either at death or sometimes in our lives. There is not a safe nesting place but putting our trust in God, both in this life and the next.
God is still in control. Christians believe that statement theologically, but often do not believe it emotionally. God has caused floods, famines, diseases, and wars in the past. We’d like to think that God just “allows” those kinds of things to happen, but he would never harm humans. Really? That would come as a shock to Noah, Moses (think the 10 plagues) or Ananias and Saphira. God orchestrated our lives in such a way to carry out his long-term goals. In the meantime, many good, kind, faithful Christians are hurt deeply. Why God chooses to do this is unclear. But he says trust me. “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” Psalm 115:3
Christians occasionally need to rethink which “trees” are truly safe. During this current crisis I’ve had people tell me, “I am scared to death to even look at my 401K.” Those fears are real. I know I’ve had those same fears myself. Neither my mother or father even had a retirement account. They had some savings and some investments. They had no debt but it never occurred to them that God would not provide all their needs. (My dad went bankrupt when I was 10.) They believed God was their provider, not my dad. It was a tremendous lesson for me, but for most of my life I didn’t believe it. I spent my early days building “forts,” not nests! I’ve made this observation: Most Christians spend their lives making sure they are never dependent on God, or anyone else. We have investments, 401K, cash, and sometimes all three and more, just so we never need to depend on God. (We’d never say that out loud, but at some level most of us don’t really trust God to provide for us.)
So, this is a time for self-evaluation and self-examination. If someone or something is chopping at your tree, look for the Rock.
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:8
How following Jesus works in real life.
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