Friday, February 13, 2009

The Problem of SILENCE

The parable Jesus tells of "Lazarus and the Rich Man," is the answer to the problem we sometimes have with God's profound silence.
If you recall, there was a rich man who lived sumptuously and when he died he went to Hades (hell) where he was tortured by the flames. A homeless beggar who lived at the gate of the rich man, and whose bodily sores were licked by the dogs, also died. The poor beggar was carried away to Abraham's breast. The rich man begs father Abraham send Lazarus to him that he (Lazarus) may dip the tip of his finger in cool water and cool his burning tongue. Abraham is supposed to say; "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented..." [Luke 16:25]
The parable ends with the rich man begging Abraham to send "him" (contextually, dead Lazarus) to the rich man's five living brothers to "...testify them, lest they also come to this place of torment." [vs. 28].
Next comes Christ's explanation of what we are quick to interpret as the deep and cold silence of God. "Abraham said to him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." Here the rich man protests, "No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent." [vs. 3o].
But he (Abraham) said; "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead." [vs.31.].
I presume that the point is clear, but if not; when we (you and I) are deep in trouble of one kind or another, and we earnestly pray for deliverance/healing/restoration, etc., sometimes (more often than not in my experience), God is quiet; very quiet; disgustingly quiet. And in our/my frustration we experience one of several visceral, emotional reactions; anger, frustration, depression, despair.....
The reason this happens is made clear in this parable: We forget to go to the Source of all that God has already said to us, both indirectly and directly, to rediscover profound reasons for faith. Of course, that source is the Word of God.
One of our weaknesses is that we wait till trouble to search the Word. If we were to breathe His word daily, we most probably would not suffer a breathless frustration when trouble strikes (which it will; it always does, sooner or later).
As a side note, everyone should understand that this parable is not an explanation of the topography of Heaven and Hell; right next door to each other where the saved and the lost can dialogue throughout eternity. (Would that be perverted love or what; if God set the saved and the lost in the same neighborhood where the saved could watch their lost friends and relatives suffer, and suffer, and suffer....for billions and trillions of years. NO! We do not serve that kind of a God. If you want to know each part of the Godhead, just look at Jesus and listen to Him speak.
Don't be deceived by spurious and wrongful application or interpretations of God's Word.
God Bless. e.c.

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