In his book The Mission of God, Christopher Wright discusses the knowledge of God that Israel had in the Old Testament, specifically in His acting by delivering them through the means of a pagan king who had no allegiance to Yahweh.
[I]f Israel should be inclined to protest at the means by which God would bring about their deliverance (i.e., through a pagan king who did not even know YHWH, yet is provocatively described as YHWH’s “shepherd” and “anointed”), they would do well to remember who it was they presumed to argue with–the Creator of the universe.
“Concerning things to come, do you question me…? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands have stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:…He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free” (Isaiah 45:11-13).
So, the reason why God’s planned action for Israel’s deliverance will be spectacularly successful is that it is grounded in his universal sovereignty as Creator. And the effect of that saving action will be to demonstrate the unique identity and status of YHWH to the rest of the world. Israel would do well not to protest, for they have a role to play in that divine agenda. If Israel’s ultimate mission was to be a blessing and a light to the nations, they need to cooperate with God’s means of executing that purpose, whether they approved of it or not. (from The Mission of God, pg. 90)
I complain to God fairly often about the means by which he brings about my deliverance. I presume to argue all the time with the Creator of the universe. Surely, He could’ve cooked up a better scenario than me being disposed to crushing hard on my friends and having to pick myself up from those emotionally charged situations, bravely continuing friendships with those whom I’ve crushed on and legitimately love. He could’ve at least made it easier for me to be physically attracted to a girl who was once very interested in me, but whose interest seems to have waned. It’s painful, really–all of it.
I need to cooperate with God’s means of executing the mission of being a blessing and a light to the nations. This sounds grandiose, but if I am indeed called to the ministry (which seems to be the consensus amongst those who encouraged me to go to seminary in the first place and amongst those I serve alongside at my present church), then I am called, in the duty of preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, to be a blessing in the same vein as Abraham was called so long ago.
And the means God has seemed to use in my life is being attracted, sometimes unbearably so, to the same gender. Can I obey the call of God’s mission? Can I be faithful even though everything within me sometimes cries out for companionship?
I was talking recently with a friend and told him about how I loathe sleeping by myself. When I was in college, the basketball band would go on trips to various cities to perform. I had a wonderful friend who I always roomed with. He was a bit of a bed hog, and I’d wake up with him right next to me. But once I got over having him so near to me, I relaxed…and I slept very soundly. Him being so close was so…reassuring. Nothing remotely inappropriate ever transpired, and I counted him as one of my best friends in college. But that sort of thing never happens anymore. How could it?
Sometimes I just want to hold or be held. Isn’t that what everyone wants? I’m told it is. But guys don’t really even hug in American culture–not very often, or for very long. Seems sad to me, really.
Admitting that I want to hold or be held is scary, especially since the last time I wrote something along those lines, I got grilled in my pastor’s office for two hours about why I’d write or even want such a thing. Fortunately, I no longer attend that church.
I am struggling to understand the freedom of the Gospel in light of my light and momentary troubles. Right now, sitting here at my messy desk as I ruminate, they feel neither light nor momentary. Will I trust that Paul wasn’t just blowing smoke? Or will I crack under the pressure? Should I even write things like this? Sometimes I wonder if I’m not foolish, given the words that the psalmist wrote in Psalm 73: 15:
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
I’m “speaking thus.” Am I betraying Yahweh’s children? Am I bowing down to the idol of authenticity? Or, am I being honest about my life right now so that others can see the process of God working in my heart and life? Am I being set on fire by God, purified, with the intent that some would watch me burn, all for the glory of God?
Who can say? I surely can’t.