Thank you to all of you who have been in prayer for our church family members who were going through so much, particularly over this past week.
Peggy Peryam’s surgery went well (aside from some reactions to anesthesia that left her feeling woozy and nauseous for a time), and she’ll be at home trying to recuperate for the next several weeks.
Megan Wright’s migraine subsided enough for her to get all of the teaching work done in class that her major required her to do this week, and she’s feeling much better now in general.
Susan Schmider’s family have been very touched by our church family’s support during their time of grief over the passing of her mother, Wava Miles, and the visitation, funeral, and food afterwards were very much appreciated.
And--amazingly--the week that we finally decided that Cliff Johnson really did need to move into a facility that could help him and monitor his needs well, the newest facility in Peoria (and arguably one of the best in the area) suddenly had an open room available, and we moved him in on Friday. Please pray for his adjustment to a totally different place and a totally different kind of lifestyle. But praise God that he’s in a great place and that he has such a positive attitude about it.
In our message this week, we continued talking about things in God’s actions or character that have sometimes made people shrink back from following Him, because it appears (on the surface) that God is somehow immoral or misbehaving. This time around, we looked at how God can be seen as “playing favorites” with some people over other people.
Now, there are all sorts of ways that this can play out in people’s minds. Some people see Him loving the Jews in the Old Testament over everyone else, while other people fault Him for turning His back on the Jews in the New Testament (neither of which is an accurate assessment). God set apart Israel to be a beacon to the rest of the world, keeping them pure and focused not because He preferred them over others, but because He wanted one pure and holy light to act as a “lighthouse” that would draw everyone else to safe harbor with God. And that never changed. In the New Testament, the Jews are still a blessed people... it’s just that “the people of God” includes all of those who’ve been drawn by God’s light to relationship with Him, and our mandate is still the same--to draw others to God’s presence by reflecting His light to a darkened world.
To others, they struggle with how a loving God could ever create people, knowing full well that they would choose Hell over walking with Him. But beyond the importance of allowing us to have free will, what if the Potter made some pots specifically to bring in other pots by witnessing their tragic ends? Neither Paul nor I know if that’s what happened, but even then, it would also be another example of a Creator knowing the best ways to use our broken, tainted souls to reach as many and to draw in as many as possible within our broken, tainted world.
Ultimately, it’s not so much God “playing favorites” with some people over others--it’s God knowing the best ways to use the right tools at the right time to accomplish the right task. For instance, didn’t God use even Pharaoh’s hardness of heart to make the setting of His people free even that much more miraculous? Didn’t He use even Samson’s hardness of head to protect His people from the Philistines?
How can God use us--even in our brokenness and even with our weaknesses--to perform His wonders today?