BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
AUGUST 20, 2014
The Glory Road, A Kingdom Highway
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19).
The Fundamentalist tradition I grew up in presented truth as black and white, concrete, and linear. If the Bible said it, it was true and if the Bible didn’t say it; it was false. However, over the course of my life, some of the things which I believed were absolutely the truth sometimes were revealed to be situational truth. That is to say it was truth for the time in my life where I needed it to be truth but as I grew beyond it, it was just a signpost on the way to wherever I was going. That sounds a little swishy even to me, but maybe I can clarify it.
If truth is static, simple, and stationary, then Jesus would not have had to come to reveal the Father to us because we could have gotten all we need by reading the Bible statement that “God is love,” for instance. Reading about God’s love cannot bring us into the kingdom any more than reading about human reproduction can bring a baby into our lives. What is needed in both cases is our Father’s presence to manifest His perfect will into whatever situation we find ourselves.
Not long after I was baptized in the Spirit I encountered a preacher who exuded self-confidence, charisma and persuasion, convincing us that we could have whatever we needed or wanted by the way we dealt with God. It was a spiritual formula for success in living an overcoming life, for never having disease or poverty or any of the other nasty little things that human beings must routinely endure. After those “formulas” began to consistently fail to produce results, the Spirit showed me that in reality, I was attempting to control what was happening in my life, by controlling God Himself! I did it for the purest of reasons: so I wouldn’t have to be afraid and so I could help others. Gradually, He showed me that His perfect love casts out fear and His love alone will calm my nerves and allay the fears that if left untended, become a cancer of the soul.
Our brothers and sisters in the New Age camp have a similar formula. They say, “The universe wants you to have that,” (whatever ‘that’ is). What you must do to get it, is to visualize the result you want, be it a new house, a new motor home, a healthy body, or money, and then confess continuously that the Universe has already given it to you.
Years ago, Lenny and I attended a real estate seminar where the presenter showed us a huge poster of the motor home that he had wanted in order to travel the United States and present his formulas for success. He said he spent time every day looking at it and confessing that it was his; that he owned it, and that he could use it to continue his, “How to be successful,” presentations to real estate companies around the country. The motor home was parked outside for all to see.
He said you could have or do whatever you believe you can have or do. As I recall he even quoted Jesus saying, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Actually, that verse is in Proverbs 23:7). This kind of thinking is very seductive to a type “A,” over achiever personality like mine. Give me a track to run on or a formula that sounds plausible to me and I can go to town on it until, of course, it quits working. But so long as it does work, it appears to be the truth.
Have you ever gone to your basement at night with only a flashlight to help you get to the light switch? You can only see what the beam of light reveals, but once you turn on the overhead light, you can see lots of things that you weren’t aware of at first. That’s my impression of the unveiling of truth from God. He shows us what we need to get from the nursery to elementary school. Later on, He turns the beam higher and we get to secondary school. Still later, He brings out the flood lights and we see all around, above, and below by His Spirit.
I was blessed by brother Ray Prinzing’s article entitled, “God rules and Over-rules,” that I received last week. He makes the point beautifully and forcefully that God is in charge of, and in control of, all things. It amazes me that Fundamentalists still deny that God “works ALL THINGS after the council of HIS own will” (Eph. 1:11), continuing to believe that there exists a role we must play, and there certainly is something we have to do or we will miss heaven.
Another article was sent to me recently by a man who says that we merely have to speak things into being, in exactly the same way our Father did when He created the heavens and the earth. Because He lives in us, we have the power to do all the things Jesus did. In terms of his health, the writer spent considerable time in the article, declaring that God had healed him, and then later, he admitted that he hadn’t reached perfect health yet, but he was still working on it. If our success rests on our works alone, they will fail, and be burned up in the fire of God’s love, like wood, hay, and stubble. A careful reading or even a casual reading of the Old Testament proves that sad truth. However, I dare not judge either this writer or his path to walk, because, as I’ve said countless times, no one died and made me pope.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that everything rises and falls, fails or succeeds on the presence of God in our lives. We can read that He is the one with whom we have to do, but for me at least, to receive any comfort and experience any peace, I have to feel his presence; I have to feel his love, and hear His voice.
In my old age the only eternal truth that I can really rally around is “God is love, and love never fails.” The aforementioned writer also declared that God did not create evil, and therefore He didn’t create sickness. The lame theory that God can’t do any bad thing may be comforting to some, but it leaves anyone believing it, in a world of confusion. If God doesn’t do any bad things then who does them? Ah Ha, you say, the devil. That puerile idea led to the great deception, still perpetrated in churches today, of a two power universe: God on the good side and the devil on the bad. The way some Christians and even some pastors talk, always astounds me, because it seems that they don’t yet know who is going to win.
About that, Lenny always quoted Jesus’ statement, “…when your eye is sound (single), your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34). He interpreted it to mean, when you see only God, you are flooded with light, but if you see a two power universe, you will always be walking in darkness. That has certainly proven true in my life.
Periodically, I feel led to include the following scriptures, which debunk the theory that God is not responsible for bad things. “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand” (Deut. 32:39). “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isa 45:7). The Prophet Amos asked, “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does evil befall a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6).
Our Father, who “works all things after the council of His own will,” has the whole world and everyone in it, in His capable hands. Isaiah said of Him, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isa. 46:10). When our plans go awry, or our health fails, or our living standard gets downgraded, we give God a failing grade sometimes, because our whole body is NOT full of His light. We have NOT seen the end from the beginning; we have NOT plumbed the depths of the well of His unconditional love, and perhaps we cannot do that yet, but until we can, we “stand under a waterfall of infinite and loving Flow.” (Richard Rohr).
Father, fill us with your light and love and glory that we may indeed be a city set on a hill, glowing for all those who walk in darkness to see. You are our healer, our deliverer, our champion, and our Abba. For thine is the power and the glory, and the victory, and majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. The Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth. Amen.