Watching that video and reading through those comments really woke me up to a few things. Again; because these weren’t new revelations. Things like God doesn’t need help defending Himself. Things like you can’t prove God to people. Things like there will always be people in the world who are your opposite in terms of belief and lifestyle. Things like we should get over these things! Things like we should really give God some elbow room and trust Him more. Allow me to share a few considerations I was having in a bit more detail.
God doesn’t need help defending Himself. One of the names often used in the Bible for God is “the Lord of hosts”. Some versions render that “Jehovah of armies” or “Jehovah of Heaven’s armies” or even “the Lord of the angel armies”. If that’s who God really is, why on earth would He need anyone’s help waging a war for His honour? Last I checked, angel armies don’t only vastly outnumber anything we have here on Earth, they’re also on a totally different level! A single angel once decimated an army of over 185,000 men in one night. So they wouldn’t even need the numbers! They also outnumber and overpower the demons of Hell, by the way. We keep being told Satan only managed to take one-third of the angels with him when he fell. And in John’s vision of the End, a single angel, apparently so commonplace as to not even warrant being identified, grabs hold of the great Satan himself (gasp!) and confines him to a pit. Not two angels. Not a battalion. Just a single, solitary angel, alone and unaided.
On top of that, God is the one who dispenses power. Psalm 75:5-7, Daniel 2:20-21 and others tell us He is the one decides who gets to attain power, who gets to keep it and who loses it. Power is His to dispense with as He sees fit. That being said, He is perfectly capable of keeping things under control. If Christians truly believed or understood that, we would get less ruffled by many of the things and people we have to contend with on a daily basis. But that’s pretty much the issue, isn’t it? We really don’t come close to understanding it and too often we don’t really believe it though we claim to.
You can’t prove God to people. That is an inalienable and timeless truth. It’s also something we often need to learn the hard way. And it really shouldn’t be that difficult to understand. We’re all human. If there’s one thing we should all know (and actually do know at least on a subconscious level), it’s that humans can be extremely stubborn. We literally decide what to believe, and what to do, often with nary a passing glance at the “facts”. We’re all guilty of that, and often too. Very often. So often, in fact, that it’s become a reflex, something that more often than not we’re not even aware that we’re doing! Why else do people have tons of sex and then get all bewildered when “suddenly” they find themselves with an unwanted baby on the way, even while having used “protection”? (Fact: Sex was meant to produce children — no human device or invention has ever succeeded in fully negating that simple truth. Everything eventually fails given enough time, the right circumstance and even the right “accident”.) Or why else do people just float along on the job like a dead leaf down a river and then complain when other people “unfairly” achieve the promotion or accolades they were after? (Fact: If you just float along and put hardly any effort into anything you can hardly expect to be recognized in a positive way and then advanced. People respond to excellence with praise, not mediocrity.) Yup. Humans have a disastrous knack for forgetting, being ignorant of and even deliberately disregarding some very important things, often just at the moment they matter most. We all do it. And very often, if we’re honest with ourselves when we look back, it’s more a result stubbornness than accident or unfortunate circumstances.
That said, maybe I should revise the statement. You can prove God to people. Some people, that is; and some of the time. The proofs work for some people. For others, the same proofs (or even better ones) either honestly confuse them more and give them even more questions, or simply invoke within them more rebellion and stubbornness. You never can tell. But in the end it’s all the same: namely, God is revealed, not proven. The things that resonate most with us as humans are most often not the things that were proven to us with words, but the things we actually “saw”, the things we just “got”, the things that “dawned on” us in one fateful moment. The things we can’t really trace afterward because we don’t know where exactly they came to us from. One of the oddest things I’ve noticed is that neither the Bible nor Jesus Himself ever attempted to prove God to anybody. The Bible says in two places that fools say in their heart, “There is no God”. And then it promptly moves on from the point without even offering a rebuttal. And as for Jesus? Well, He didn’t even go that far. So neither the Book about God nor God-made-flesh felt it necessary to offer anybody any proof of God. With them, you either believe or you don’t. Hebrews 11:6 puts it succinctly: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If you come to God at all, you must believe He is, that is, that He exists. That’s all, folks!
There will always be people in this world who don’t share our beliefs, sometimes even insofar as to be our polar opposites. Always. One example of this? The theist vs the atheist. Polar opposites in terms of beliefs. One sees God in everything. The other sees that everything literally kicks God out on His ear. We also have other such differences in belief the world over. One person believes marriage is beautiful and strives toward it. Another believes it’s the spawn of Chuckie, the bane of any relationship, and should be avoided like the plague at all costs. One man believes all his kids should come from one woman and live in one home. Another sees it as something of an achievement to spread his seed abroad via a variety of women in a variety of places. One woman believes feminism is the liberation of all women everywhere and clings to it. Another despises the term and all it stands for. And to each of these people, their beliefs make perfect, logical sense. Crazy world we live in, right? Welcome to life.
That’s why no one can take any of this lightly. People’s beliefs aren’t things to be shrugged off. They carry more weight than that. These are the concepts that literally anchor people and guide them throughout life. They are not things you simply trample over. They are things you respect even if you find them utterly stupid. You respect them solely on the basis that they are part of another human being, however misguided you find that human being to be. They are part of what makes that person who they are. And they are also what makes you who you are. They are not easily parted with, as you yourself should know as a fellow human being; and having to part with them can be a source of trauma. So be patient with people, if not with their beliefs. We keep thinking we got the way we are, that we achieved our own “enlightened” state, through some superior quality of our own. Nope. Nothing could be more wrong. We could have been like that person we so scorn, and worse even.
We should get over these things! Simply put, how do you change another human’s mind? Anyone who has ever cared to try will find that it’s not as simple as it sounds! Surely there are some people who are easily swayed in this world. But there are also others who are more like a pillar of pure steel. And easily swayed or not, everyone has a few things they would sooner break over than bend. So it really is no use getting upset over the fact that some people simply can’t see some things. That would leave you with a lifetime of pure bitterness and annoyance — I’m talking every second of every day, because that’s how often people miss “the truth” we so embrace! We will always have such people in the world. It’s so easy to forget but, for all our self-assuredness, we are that very person for someone else! So there’s nothing for it but to let folks be folks. Certainly, do what you can to educate people and all that. But don’t expect it to work like a charm — it won’t! Do what you can to fix the problem, but leave room for humans to be humans, for your own sanity and theirs as well. Because you are that person for someone else! That’s why the Word said not to judge. You can only do so much and no more. We’re all different. We won’t ever all be the same — get over it!
We should really give God more elbow room. Seriously. He’s earned it, if for no other reason than that we are completely useless in this and many other departments. So give God some elbow room! You’ve tried and failed. So now let the Master work. You know what one of the most mysterious things about God is? It’s that He has gotten over it! He doesn’t take it to heart when people do or say or believe certain things. He even laughs about it for a time. Check out Psalm 2:1-4. While we are down here blowing a gasket–both theists and atheists–He is up there laughing at it all. Verse 5 comes in only later. There is an appointed time. But until that time, God is quite fine with sending His rain on both the just and the unjust, both His lovers and His haters, both the wise and the foolish. He has gotten over it. Why else do people get away with so much, or indeed think they’ve got away and are home free? God knows what He is doing. He knows people too, and precisely how to handle them. John 2:24-25 tells us, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
God isn’t in the habit of sending threatening lightnings across the sky or slapping people into next month every single time someone does something He isn’t a fan of. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says it well. So does Psalm 50:21. God isn’t a loudmouth like many of us on either side of the divide are. And that leads to all sorts of things for us, chiefly confusion and laxity. It’s not easy to see why God takes the stance He does. But that’s why we should give Him room. He knows just what He’s doing. We’re the ones who don’t. And that’s why our overzealousness often creates more chaos than it fixes. But the even more amazing thing is that the chaos we create still can’t undermine God’s plans. In fact, it hardly prevents the very people we’re trying to defend God against from turning right around and trusting Him later in their lives. That’s another reason why God doesn’t get all flustered over every little thing. He knows. He knows how to reveal Himself to people in any and all circumstances and regardless of any and everything else. Or any and everyone else. He knows who will change their minds, when, how and why. And He’s patient, unlike us. He loves giving chances.
So with all this on the playing field, wouldn’t we be better served trying to play Saviour-of-the-whole-world a lot less and trying to learn how to really love people a lot more? How about we let God be the Chief of Defense and stick to our own guns?