I am a Christian youth leader. I have a heart for teens. I love the butt faces. The broken ones, the ones that give me a dirty look or the “lady you don’t know me and you’re not chipping through this” look when I first meet them.
This Sunday as a group, the youth went to see a movie, “God’s Not Dead”. (God’s Not Dead-Official Movie) I was game, I thought it would be great for some of our teens to watch because it was addressing some apologetic arguments that may at least start some dialogue. What I wasn’t expecting was how this movie would impact me while I watched it unfold.
The movie is about a young man who is a Freshman at a university. He is attending his first Humanities class which happens to be Philosophy with an infamous Atheist professor. The student, Josh, didn’t do this on purpose, he fit Philosophy into his schedule puzzle and did not have any other alternative than to attend this class. During the first class, Josh is met with a decision, as his professor ruled the class with fear, that if you want to argue the existence of God, you will put your grade also your academic career into jeopardy. The professor suggested that all of the students sign a statement stating that
“GOD IS DEAD”
so that they can put this argument to rest and move on to more important topics and not have to waste any of the semester “rehashing” the argument of whether God exists or not. Josh is extremely convicted and nervously states to the professor that he cannot do this. This, of course, ignites the “debate war” between him and the professor with the remaining students as the agreed upon jury.
While Josh is presenting a very good argument for the case of God, there are several other story lines going on that interweave with one another. One of these stories is the one that really hit home to me, it was one that I struggled with when I was unsaved and a baby Christian, it is one that rears its ugly head still sometimes.
It was the story of an extremely well-off, charismatic, everyone loves him and wants to be him character. He looked on the outside like he had everything going for him. The story led us down a path were he had a very sick relative and we are met with a scene in which he is speaking to his relative and he is expressing how he has everything and doesn’t believe and she loved God her entire life and now she is only a shell without thoughts and doesn’t even know who she is. He is justifying his life.
“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son. “Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”
The devil doesn’t care how he locks you up and keeps you from God, he just wants to facilitate that however he can. If he keeps one from God, that is his only “M.O.”, to try and hurt God.
So many people think that just because we are children of God, that our lives are perfect and God will provide riches and health all the time and if He doesn’t then either we were not really living without sin (impossible) and this is our “judgment or karma” or it justifies the behavior for the selfish and lost.
You see, this is where we get things so extremely wrong. God is not concerned with the treasures on Earth, it all belongs to Him anyway. He is concerned with our heart, our character, and dependence on Him with complete surrender. These are the things that build treasure in Heaven which is where our eternal treasure is held. You don’t get to take your fancy car or house, you don’t get your designer shoes or embellished jeans.
Our circumstances are not punishment, they are the result of a broken world. They are an opportunity for God to use what is meant for destruction into GOOD in our lives for His glory! It is an opportunity for us to lean on Him as our HEALER when we are facing a doctor’s report that appears to be terminal. It is an opportunity for us to realize that He is our true PROVIDER when our account looks bleak but somehow we get through the month in the positive not our job or our paycheck! It is an opportunity for Him to restore relationships again as the mighty COUNSELOR!
What do you need to turn over to God in your life? What are you holding onto that God is trying to take from you so that He can turn it into a victory for His glory? What are you afraid of, His plans are so much better than we can even imagine for ourselves!!