Pastor Bill Schnackenberg, United Methodist Church
Have you ever had a day when you just didn’t know if God was there? A day when you felt especially lost? That’s a feeling most people have at one time or another, even pastors. That doesn’t sound like a good thing to say as a pastor, does it? But even as a pastor, there are days when I question what’s going on.
I know from reading the scriptures that people have often asked those same questions. The prophets, the patriarchs, King David, the apostles, and many in the early church found themselves wondering what God had in store for them. They kept asking God for direction and even more faith. There were days, I am sure, that they all wavered in their trust of God.
But they persisted along the course they had begun walking.
Why would they do that if they had questions? The simple answer is that there was never a question whether there was a god. There were lots of gods to choose from. Golden idols, visible statues, and even some people who proclaimed themselves as “the one.” When Moses went to Egypt to free the Hebrew people, he confronted one of those proclaimed gods, the Pharaoh. But there was something different about the message Moses gave – he gave it with the authority of the Living God.
The common question concerning God in the Bible was, “Who, me?” or “Why did you choose me?” It was not, “Is there really a god?”
In our present day, we’ve changed the question to one of existence instead of purpose. It’s our attempt to have some control over our lives in this enlightened, technical age. And then we try to figure out our own purpose, our own meaning for our own existence. Our focus in life has shifted to a life of “self.”
It’s so easy to fall into that trap – a trap that leads us downward. You see, there is one truth that we tend to avoid. God chooses us. There is nothing we can do about that. We can’t change God’s mind about who God chooses. And when we are focused so much on ourselves, we don’t think we are worthy of anything beyond ourselves acting to choose us. But the reality is that God did indeed choose us, just as God chose the Hebrew people – in order to free them for living. God graciously chooses us and through God’s Son has begun the process of restoration of our relationship with God. God has acted to free us from our self-imposed, self-centered oppression to give us a new life, a full and abundant life.
For the complete column, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.