There are some folks who deny that God exists. Some will say there is a God but say we can’t know him or it and then deify the universe. There are a lot of ways to explain the universe, us and all that exists without acknowledging a god or believing in the God.
There was a time when I was in my early teen years that I was embarrassed by my parents. I was a child of the hip and happening 60s and my parents were children of the depression. They had suffered through deprivation and worked hard for everything they had but they were not hip or happening, definitely not cool like the TV moms and dads and at large social gatherings I would pretend that I didn’t know them. I am remembering a summer church picnic at the lakes where I avoided them all day long, even joining in conversations about how uncool “those people” were.
And yet at the end of the day I helped pick up our stuff and put into my dads big green Ford Galaxy and rode with those people home to the house my dad provided with his uncool job. I wanted to be self made but in reality I wouldn’t exist without “those people”, the uncool, unhip Herb and Elaine who birthed me, and raised me and loved me even if I didn’t want acknowledge them.
Fast forward to life in 2020. We live in central Washington State. It is early September and there are wildfires all around us. Yesterday the smoke literally choked out the sun. We live miles from the nearest fire yet the smoke and ash made it so dark that the street lights came on. I started to go out on an errand but turned back when the smoke made it impossible to see beyond the end of my street. There was ash falling. It was black fibers, it looked like strands of the stuff used to make tarps. I’m guessing it is from the grasses that are burning. The air did clear out and we could see the sun but news of multiple collisions due to poor visibility and the multiple road closures kept us home.
This morning I read Isaiah chapter 40. It reminded me of the fibrous ash piled up on my sidewalk.
“A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”
Isaiah 40:6-11 – NLT
Some of us live life like I lived my teen years, denying God’s existence and wanting no part in believing in him or following him. And yet he exists and because of his will being done, we exist and are sustained and supported and alive because of Him. We can deny it, but it doesn’t change who he is or how we came to be. Like my rude and rebellious youthful self we deny our parentage but there comes a time when we got to pack up and go and we will be rejoined with our Father. Our time on earth seems long but it actually is very brief, like the grass that has been the fuel of the local wildfires we live just a season and then we are gone, our grasslike bodies turned to ash.
Our God is coming. He is humanities God. The last part of Isaiah says this: “Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:21-31 – NLT
Humanity, our God is coming. Our season will come to an end. Do you know the God who created you? He not only created us, but when we as a race rebelled against him and sinned and made it impossible to be reconciled, He made a way by sending his son Jesus to die in our place and use his sinless life to pay for our sin filled lives. We can be restored to relationship with God.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 – NLT
We moved recently and in the move we found sets of baby clothes my wife had saved for each of our 4 kids. We found a shirt my oldest, our son Aaron wore. We are not self made, we are in fact, like the shirt Aaron wore as a 2 year old said, “handmade by God”. Will we embrace our parentage, being created children of the most high God and accept his gracious gift of new life and reconciliation through Jesus his son?