Jonathan David Faulkner
Back in 2013 when I taught my class on First Timothy I would start each Sunday School Session with a Primer question. Something to get them into the text, get them thinking about the topics we had discussed or what we were about to touch. This time around I had not incorporated that into a class I am co-teaching on Isaiah, since we only have 15 weeks to cover 66 chapters I was focused on trying to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. With recent events in the news and the great prophesies discussed in chapters 24-27 that changed, mostly because the more I read the text the more the primer question was being asked of me. Ironically, a week after I had asked the question to my Sunday School class a professor told a group of us during a conversation to do this very thing.
The question which I put forward: “Are we content to let God be God?”
Seems simple right, a simple question demanding a simple answer…it is not so simple. In light of such awesome things found in scripture, especially in the book of Isaiah, it may be hard for us to believe. Sadly it would seem what our NT Interp professor said about himself is true about most of us: “When I read those passages that say “and the people were amazed” I just sort of shrug, I am not amazed, but shouldn’t I be?” I have to say that resounded with me until the Labyrinth and my summer in Denver and even in the months leading up to the fall. Up to that point my answer to the question was a resounding “No.” I was not, nor was I going to be content to let God be God because it meant I had to once and for all kill the old man and put on the new permanently and the pain and hurt and desire for control I held so tightly too was a source of comfort. It kept me from having to truly love others, it had become my excuse to cordon myself off from people and self-destruct when things were getting out of my control. I ruined a great deal of friendships and maybe even a life or two living in that cycle, “Let God be God” Why would I do that?
Our world is so broken, one does not have to spend five minutes on Facebook or watching the news to acknowledge that. More and more it seems that we are seeing the results of human depravity. If one is not careful we could lose sight of the common grace that keeps us all from becoming totally debased. Secular society does not want God to be God and I think, sadly, most Christians would have to say that neither do they. It may require of us to truly step into the hurt and pain of another, to give up our society approved “right to individuality” to begin to live together as a community that truly loves one another through the bearing on one another’s burdens and the gentle reminder of the deep and abiding love of God made manifest in Christ and sealed by the Spirit.
When I asked my Sunday School class this question I had one point of Application. Matt Chandler often says: “God is both a God who is immensely powerful, and intensely personal” Meaning that God has displayed to us great power, Holiness, Righteousness, Dominion, Omnipresence, Omnipotence and so on. He has told us of his greatness through the works of Scripture and that which He has done in our own lives. But at the same time He has shown us a deep, intense and abiding love and individual and corporate care that goes beyond anything man is capable of. This is the God who formed us in our mothers wombs, who “Intricately wove” us together and who breathed his breath into us and who has defeated death for us so that we might enjoy His eternal love and presence.
Brothers and Sisters, we have this great hope that Christ who was crucified has risen and is still risen. We have this great hope that the God of the universe, the one who made heaven and Earth, the creator of all good things so very deeply loves and cares of us and wants us to share that care and love for others with others. But for that to happen we must let God be God. We must look to Him as our first source of comfort and healing and be willing to step into the life of another. To not isolate ourselves, but to lay aside our fear of further hurt and do what Jesus did for us, step into our mess and hurt and pain and sin and give up himself so that all who come to Him might live.
When all was said in done and we were shutting down and my co-teacher had left the room one of the older gentlemen in the room stood in the back and looked up at me and asked: “So, are you content to let God, be God.” The answer: “I am more and more content each year, but some days I fail miserably.”
Now though, I do want God to be who He says He is, and I know that He is who He says He is. So brothers and sisters, I want to ask you, are you content? Are you content to let God be God? If so, then go and live the new life that was hidden in Christ and continue in the Holy Spirit that is sanctifying you and helping transform you more an more into the image that we all so beautifully bear. The Unmarred Image of GOD.
Jonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary working on Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry