The last Saturday of the fair. I was so happy when I had finally gotten through it without physical injury unlike last year blowing out my knee. This year I took more breaks and sat down trying like crazy not to have that happen again. I succeeded, and I’m very thankful.
This year went very well even though I didn’t work the Gideon’s International booth as much as I did last year, which probably helped my knee situation. I was thankful and blessed by the many conversations that I had with those who came in. Whether it was with unbelievers, Atheists, or Agnostics; Christians, the strong believer, or the new babe in Christ, we fulfilled our task to share the gospel and encourage the Christians. In this next conversation I did both.
I noticed a young man and his young daughter come in to look at the train around the ark; more so her because she looked so much like my wife’s pictures when she was that age with bright freckles and long blond hair. When he stood up I reached out and gave him a tract booklet about Noah’s Ark. With some small talk I asked him if he was a Christian or goes to church. He introduced himself as “Buddy” and said he goes to a Baptist church somewhere in the country, believes the gospel, understands it, but feels that something was missing; he never felt as if he was saved — the “aha” moment. I asked him to articulate what the gospel was to him, and saying all the right things, you can tell something was sightly off; even saying that his pastor had been in counseling with him for several months and cannot figure it out.
I shared my testimony with him and how I got saved, the feeling of elation and knowing I was accepted by God. I also shared my wife’s testimony, but nothing helped jar or help him figure out why he didn’t have that same experience either. I told him that everyone doesn’t have the same experience or feelings, and that is ok. But when you get run over by a grain truck, you will know it; and God is bigger than a grain truck. To say that He doesn’t affect you is impossible. He agreed to which he nodded wide-eyed and frustrated.
I thought for a few seconds and asked him to talk about himself, since I was doing most of the talking. He spoke of when and where he heard the gospel, family life, what he did for a living and that he was a self-made millionaire at 25 years old: to which I thought that was his problem, because money does a weird thing to people. In the same breath he said, “My father died two years ago and ever since then I have been angry at God for taking my dad.” My eyes got wide, he stopped, thought a few seconds, looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m mad at God because he took my dad away from me.”
Buddy looked over at the case and saw the tract booklet, “Why is there Death & Suffering,” picked it up and said, “This is why I’m here. I think I finally figured out my problem. Thank you.” I prayed over Buddy and his daughter to give them peace, joy, and love. His wife looked relieved and filled with smiles. He gave me a hug before leaving and thanked me for taking time with him and being so patient.
Death and suffering of a family member does crazy things to a person and blame usually goes to those who caused it, or to the One who had the power to stop it. People often wonder how God can be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving; yet allow such catastrophes, tragedies, and suffering of innocent people. It’s no surprising when burdens become so great that people cry out to God in anguish, “Why won’t you do anything? Don’t you care?!”
The truth is that God has created this world a “very good” and perfect world. We were never created to suffer and die. It was the fall of man in Genesis 3 that led to sin and death (Romans 5:12 and the verses that follow). The death of man and animals was not part of the original creation. But, God showed mercy to humans and took them out of the garden so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in the state of sin and decay. We must remember that death is penalty for our own personal sin, not only for the sin of Adam. In reality it is our fault that the world is the way it is, because no one is really innocent for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 5:12).
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written:
"There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one."
"Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit";
"The poison of asps is under their lips";
"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:9-20 NKJV)
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