Tuesday, December 7, 2010

God is Good

Yesterday we were blown away by God's goodness. A little over a month ago we had a couple fun trips to the emergency room for Derek. Don't worry, everything is fine. But we ha no idea what the financial ramifications would be of 2 trips to the emergency room, an x-ray, ct scan, bloodwork, etc. I was fully anticipating meeting the yearly deductible and then some. But last night, the bills came in the mail. And they were literally less than 25% of what I was hoping for. A couple of co pays and an additional $12.65 bill. That's it! We did a happy dance and thanked God. So now we have the joy of figuring out what to do with that extra money I had put aside. We will definitley be giving a lot of it right back to God!

Another way God was awesome yesterday, was that my camera was found! I was seriously getting ready to order a new point and shoot from target.com, and when we went to Young Life last night, the family whose house we have it at found the camera! So there's another extra $100.

On top of my giddiness over God taking care of us last night, I was also super excited because I got to share the good news of the gospel at Young Life last night. This is always challenging, because we do Young Life at a private Christian school {read: these kids are aware of the story of Jesus and his dying on the cross} and a lot of them believe that because they go to Christian school they are indeed Christians. They're lives, however do not always reflect this. So how do you tell a group of students who is all too familiar with the story of God's redeeming love that they don't really get it? {Obviously there are some students who very much get it. I don't want to make it sound like I think they are all lost.}

Recetly I read the book Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. Its a book all about the parable of the lost son. You can find that story in Luke 15 starting at verse 11 if you are not familiar with the story. In this story a father has 2 sons and the youngest comes to him and asks him for his inheritance (even though the father has not yet died). He takes the money, leaves and lives it up until he has spent it all and has nothing left. He comes back to ask his father if he would hire him to work, since he is pretty much starving at this point. The father gladly accepts him back into the family and throws a feast in his honor. Most people would look at this story and see the obvious parallels between us sinners and the younger brother, and the father as our loving God.

The only problem is many LCA students don't relate to the younger brother. They've never really done anything wrong in their lives. Enter the end of the story, when the older brother, who has stayed and been faithful finds out that his screw up of a younger brother is just allowed to come home with no consequence. He's furious. It's not fair!

In the book Prodigal God Keller talks about how a lot of us relate more to the older brother. And this is what I shared with them last week. He points out however, that the older brother is just as lost as the younger brother. While the younger brother straight up told the father he didn't want him, he just wanted his stuff, the older brother hung around and did everything for the father, with the expectation that because he had been so faithful, his father owed him something and should do what he wanted. A lot of us hav ethis sort of relationship with God. We think that because we have been good, God owes us the things in life we want. Neither brother in this story loved the father, they both just wanted his stuff. And I explained both of these attitudes, the selfish younger brother and the self righteous older brother, sin.

And so last night I got to share how Jesus came to be the true older brother that was missing in the story. The older brother that not only went out to find the missing younger brother, but also to bring him back into the family at his own expense. One thing I never realized before reading this book, is that when the younger brother asked for his inheritance, the father gave him the 1/3 of the estate that was his. So everything that remains will eventually go to the older brother. So, if the younger son is to be brought back into the family, his new inheritance must come from the remaining 2/3 that belongs to the older brother.

And so this is the love of Christ. He came to earth to seek us out when we were lost (whether in selfishness or slef-righteousness) and then paid the price to bring us back into the family out of his own inheritance. And I got to explain that when we truly understand what it is Christ has done for us, our lives will never be the same. Going to LCA, these kids know of the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross. What they may not know, is that the physical suffering was nothing compared to the suffering of being separated from the father. And that is what is in store for us if we don't take Jesus up on his offer to bring us back into the family. And if we can truly grasp that, we will realize that everything we ever thought we wanted or thought was important, is absolutely nothing in view of the opportunity to have a restored relationship with God.

And so I hope that some lives will be changed because of this extravagant love that God has shown us through Christ. I know that my life will never be the same. If you get the change to read Prodigal God I highly recommend it. It definitely changed the way I looked at that story, as well as my relationship with God.


Callie Nicole said...

Sounds like a good book! I've never thought about it that way before either . . .

Amber said...

I LOVE hearing people tell about the ways that God has blessed them. I don't know why it always surprises me when God steps in and blesses me in an unexpected way - but it always does. And He blesses me often - but I so quickly forget how mighty He is to provide for my every need. Thanks for sharing! :)