For believers, this story is bigger than you might consider but unfortunately, I am not to provide the intricate and most interesting details on a public blog of this nature. I will permit your imagination to explore the clandestine and disordered world that I am quite used to experiencing here in Europe. In reality, this is quite a warm and encouraging tale.
While leaving the church on Sunday night, this fellow Johnny stopped me at the door. He said something like this, ” I have many questions that I need to have answered. In my mind I believe what you are saying but some things do not make sense.” I did, what now seems to be absolutely unthinkable. I volunteered to meet him. Johnny is from Columbia. He speaks seventeen words of incomprehensible English. I speak four hundred twenty-three words of grammatically twisted Italian and I suggested we get together where I would gladly attempt to answer his questions, one by one. I understand about one-tenth of the amount that I am able to say. I had no idea that he did not have but two or three questions but had a trunk full of them and for three hours they came at me one after another. I employed everything in my arsenal and as soon as I ran out of amo, he would charge at me with another. I was exhausted, but slowly, by standing on my feet and gesturing my way through complicated explanations (it pays to be a ham) that I had no words for and pointing to scriptures, then forcing him to read them out loud, he gave up and complimented me in writing by saying, “Always before I could hear it but I could not feel it.” I left the apartment feeling wonderfully incompetent and that God’s Spirit is able to slip through our sloppy workmanship.
The problem with a person is never ignorance. I can answer a persons questions for twenty years and they will always have another. The questions can be as absurd as, “Did Adam have a belly button?” or as complicated as, “Where did God come from?” or “If God is good, why is there so much suffering in the world?”
The real problem with man is rebellion and this is usually exhibited in one of two ways. First, light will not be given to the proud man as God will resist him. The man who says that God (if there is a God) should go out of His way to reveal Himself is a man who will never hear from God. This person will remain in utter darkness for both time and eternity.
Next, there is the man who is not yet enough sick of himself. He remains happy and content in his small, boring world. This is the one who prefers his sin and amusements over possessing communion and a life with God. Frankly, God just isn’t as compelling as everything else. Jesus had these people around Him in his day. These are the one’s who prefer darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. The cares of this world and the love of other things keep them intoxicated. Jesus once asked, “Do you want to get well?” Why did he do this? Doesn’t everyone with a malady prefer to be made whole. No, some people love being sick. Sickness has become their self understanding – their complete identity. Sometimes it is simply easier to stick with something horrible and debilitating than to make change that might be costly even though the outcome is considerably better. The sensible man should prefer an uncomfortable, momentary visit to the dentist over the prolonged and intense pain of an absessed tooth.
Here I am in another internet coffee shop writing all of this stuff. Does it make any sense to come all the way to Europe and use my time in this way?