In God We Trust?

“In God we trust,
but not as much as we used to.”
—Mike Hamel

The longer I live and the more I study, the harder it is to reconcile what the Bible seems to say with the way life actually works. I can identify with the psalmists and saints who wrestled with the discrepancies, from Job to John the Baptist.

John was the greatest of the prophets, but even he had to readjust his theology when his experience didn’t match his preaching. Jesus was drastically changing the rules (read the Sermon on the Mount) and John would not be rescued from prison by this kinder, gentler God who turned the other cheek.

(Ever notice how Jesus sent John a coded message to that effect? When he quoted Isaiah 61:1,2 to John’s disciples [Matt 11:4-6] he left out, “to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”).

John was not saved from Herod just as the Jews weren’t delivered from the Romans (or other Gentile powers since then). And we are often not spared from egregious wrongs and extraneous pain. This incongruity between the divine promises and our daily circumstances can be daunting.

Trusting isn’t that easy from a sick-bed or prison cell and we don’t have to pretend it is. Scripture doesn’t censure Job’s anger or John’s vacillation and neither should we. The dissonance between the character of God and the condition of the world is legitimate cause for mistrust.

It is also a fertile breeding ground for faith and hope.


4 thoughts on “In God We Trust?

  1. Thanks, Mike. Indeed. It seems to me the only way to make sense of this is to have a very firm sense of the sure hope of eternity, and an absolute conviction that, in the end, there will be both justice and mercy, with a Righteous One as the only qualified Judge. We do see through a glass darkly. If I did not have a sure hope that I would one day see face-to-face, I’d become a hedonist immediately and get all the self-gratification I could out of my three score and ten. Either that or just live a vacuous life of despair. In the meantime, the impact of sin at every level in our world, is a merciless taskmaster, but I ultimately do not bow my knee to it.

    1. It fits in somewhere, but in John’s case his head was pruned. Titus killed more than a million Jews when he crushed Jerusalem, a severe pruning indeed.

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