The other day Former leader asked in a post “But what does it matter?” about the fact that she knows God is busy in the congregation she left and had seen God using her daughter to heal a person during one of the meetings. Questions can be asked like…“If I left because of abuse, why did God not also leave?” Why is God continuing in an environment that can be so toxic?
The first thing I must say is that I believe God loves every person on earth. Therefore, even when a congregation fails in giving each other Jesus, God is still in their midst. God loves people, even if they sin differently than I do. Furthermore, I believe God limits Himself by what we choose. Let me give you an example.
During the time of Samuel, Israel does not have a specific leader or king that leads them. They are being led by God in the form of Samuel but he is not the sort of person that gives surety. They come together and tell Samuel that they want a king. Samuel is upset. He goes to God and God tells him to inform Israel what the consequences will be, if they choose to have a king. He paints the picture for Israel, but they still want a king.
It is important to note that a systemic change is about to take place. They want a king. Although God is against the idea, (1Sa 8:7 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them.)He goes along with what they want and He chooses the first king. (1Sa 9:17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, There is the man of whom I told you. He shall have authority over My people.) Not only that, God anoints Saul.( 1Sa 10:6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you will show yourself to be a prophet with them; and you will be turned into another man. 1Sa 10:7 When these signs meet you, do whatever you find to be done, for God is with you.) This happens. (1Sa 10:10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a band of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came mightily upon him, and he spoke under divine inspiration among them.)
Eventually Saul is recognized as the king over Israel.
(1Sa 10:24 And Samuel said to all the people, Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that none like him is among all the people? And all the people shouted and said, Long live the king!)
God then chooses the second king. (1Sa 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.)
For the choice of the third king there is conflict. Should the son of the king be the next king? (1Ki 1:17 And she said to him, My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me and sit upon my throne. 1Ki 1:18 And now, behold, Adonijah is reigning, and, my lord the king, you do not know it.)
Solomon ends up as king.
After Solomon, there is a split between the northern and southern kingdoms. Rehoboam and Jeroboam are now the kings. God is very much involved in the process. Gradually and surely God is taken out of the process of choosing the king. King after king follows. To become king you either had to kill the king, or you were his son. God was not necessary any more. The “We-want-a-leader-system” came to a place where “it” became alive and now had a life of it’s own, without God. (2 Kings 15 is a good example) Does God leave? No, He stays and lives in the confined system that Israel chose for them. Sometimes He shows Himself through the prophets and at other times He stays hidden.
God may give us what we want. He may anoint it. Signs and wonders may follow. “What we want” will however limit God and eventually replace Him. We will not need Him anymore. This is much more visible in the organized part of church, but it is in all of us. Do I want freedom? Then freedom will replace God. Do I want good things to happen? Then good things will replace Him in my life. Do I want to win the world for Jesus? Then winning the world will cost me Jesus.
For us there is only one option. Jesus. With Him comes a lot of stuff. One being freedom. If I however, shift towards the freedom that Jesus gives, I begin to limit Him. We see what He does and then believes it is “the entire” He can do. (I make Him so small sometimes). A limitless God interacting with a limit-making being. Why does God limit Himself? I believe it is because He loves us very much. He gives us free will and He will not overpower our will with wonders. To do so, will not be love. Yes He will do miracles, but in the end, it was only His friends that loved Him that stayed. Miracles makes us grateful, fills us with a sense of wonder and is sometimes a little scary, but it seldom leads us to a place where we love Him because He is enough.
Is “the Jesus we get” sufficient for us, or will we only be pleased by the “Jesus we want”? Funny thing is: The one we want will eventually turn out to be smaller than the One Who loves us.