Chrissy, once again I publish my reply to you via SalvationLinks so I can paste my answer on your facebook. Thank you for giving me this one last time to address the concerns I know you face and the concern I have for you. I have not lost patience with you, nor am I giving up. I have decided this will be my last attempt to convince you via these notes unless, for some reason, you approach me with a question. Otherwise, please consider I have done my best with the following responses to the various questions or points you have given. I love and respect you in Christ and, hopefully, we can remain friends for life. The fact that I have taken so much time and expressed so much concern should signal that I have been and remain a sincere friend.
Chrissy says: I don’t think I will ever be able to convince you that I have never been hurt or disappointed by anyone to “cause me to doubt god.” I assure you. I haven’t.
Ron says: I accept your statement. Your position is that of a person who does not, and chooses not to, believe in God.
Chrissy says: I also truly believe it isn’t the only way.
Ron says: I understand that is your position and will quote Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man (or woman) cometh unto the Father, but by me.” –John 14:6
Philip was there and one of the disciples—he obviously had uncertainties about Jesus and what He was espousing at the time—the text makes that clear. (I might add you and Philip had some things in common). Here is a dialogue between Jesus and Philip and we have this record for our benefit today. –John 14:7-11
7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
Chrissy, Jesus wanted Philip to believe He was the man He claimed to be—that He was in the Father and that the Father was in Him. Philip—like you—did not believe that. Mind you He was walking with Jesus—witnessed His many miracles—had first hand experience—but still, he didn’t believe Jesus (You and Philip have some things in common). Jesus didn’t whack Philip—instead He said, “or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” –John 14: 11
He was saying to Philip—what about the works you have seen me perform? Believe me for what you have seen. These works testify that I am from God and that God is with Me. All those miracles we have read about and talk about and preach about were meant to primarily let the Jews know that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Those miracles were recorded to help us believe in Him, too. (You say, I don’t believe in God.) Okay, so be it. You don’t believe what He says and you don’t believe the miracles recorded in the Bible. His Words and His deeds are all we have. If we reject those there is no Plan “B.” The Holy Spirit is here to convince us of His truth. Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s convincing is the most dangerous thing a sinner can do in the matter of salvation. Be careful as you tread these waters. There is a line one can cross where you can never find a remedy.
Ron Says: I urge you to go back and study the works that Jesus did. The miracles He performed. If you can’t believe His Word, believe Him for His works. He was and is God!
Chrissy says: “I also truly believe it isn’t the only way.”
Ron Says: I remind you Jesus says that He is the only way. “I am the way…” No other way in all of Scripture to God the Father except through Jesus Christ. There are no two ways, five ways or a dozen ways. You either come through Jesus or you don’t get there. Period!
Chrissy says: “Imagine all these people in every country with different cultures and different personalities. How arrogant is it to think they are all wrong?”
Ron Says: No, you have that backwards. How arrogant you are to think that God is not aware of all those different cultures and would dare say to us that He is the only way. How dare those people substitute their beautiful culture, their lifestyle for the life that is found only in Jesus Christ. There was a time when the roots of those other cultures had their moment of full knowledge of God and God’s requirements. They turned their backs on God. (That is, if the cultures you make reference does not accept Jesus Christ). The fullness of the times of the Gentiles has not played out, but will. All cultures are contained within that designation, Gentile.
Chrissy says: “When I was a Christian, I never witnessed to anyone or tried to share my god with anyone. Why? Because I felt that was a very “holier-than-thou” attitude that I was right and they were wrong. Take my 2 very good, very Hindu friends. Their religion is intertwined with their culture. Who am I to tell them that according to my god they are wrong and so are the thousands of centuries of their people? I am human as they are. In fact, I went to their Nepali night at OU and was amazed at how rich their culture is. The diversity of the world is so amazing to me.”
Ron Says: “holier-than-thou” what kind of talk is that for a Christian? You witness to others because you have a love for them and a concern for them that they not miss Heaven. Jesus is the Holy One and any holiness we have comes from Him. Our attitude is based on His Word, His teaching. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” –I John 5:12
Yes, your two good friends of the Hindu faith may be the sweetest people on this side of Tulsa, or beyond, but according to the Scripture just quoted, if they do not have Jesus they do not have eternal life. Their culture has nothing to do with it. The Word of God is supreme. That is why, if they are such good friends of yours, you should use your influence to win them to Christ. You should love them enough to be concerned for their eternal destiny. What kind of friend will willingly let their dear friends go on down the trail without warning them there is an extreme danger just ahead?
Yes, the “diversity of the world is, indeed, amazing”. But to be captivated by that diversity and blinded by it to the point where you give up any claims that Christianity may have on you is a very foolish thing to do. Your being enamored by that culture is not without examples of the Jewish people falling for the same lures in the Old Testament. God’s people were constantly taking up the worship of strange gods and idols and cultures. You know those stories.
Chrissy says: “You asked how I could look at my daughters and not see god. I look at my beautiful children and see Mike and me.”
Ron says: You illustrate my point. You just stopped short. People are pictures of the very fact that there is a God. God made you and Michael. He made your children. People are different from any other creatures on this earth. There had to be a people maker. That Maker is God. Somewhere down in your heart—I think you know this. If you don’t, I fear for you more than ever. I do.
Chrissy says: “ I also look back and see how many times I held Michaela when she couldn’t breathe and wondered why a god would do that to my beautiful child. When she would literally fall asleep from the exhaustion of trying to breathe and I would hold her and wonder what god would do that. IF he had all the power in the world, why make her struggle to do the basic thing that provides life…breathe? I understand this probably sounds to you like the thing that has made me angry and bitter towards the idea of a god but I assure you it hasn’t. My lack of faith started years before Michaela was ever born.”
Ron says: Oh, how I wish your sweet Michaela did not have those breathing difficulties. But, Chrissy, look what God has provided for that sweet child. He has given her you, Chrissy and He has given her Michael and He has given her loving grandparents. You care for her and are at her side every moment of her distress. No one could ask more of you and each moment you invest in her care it is registering with Michaela. She will grow up and remember this. Our blessed Lord, hanging on the cross was struggling for breath—the very breath of life—God the Father could have come to his rescue, but He didn’t. Don’t tell me God does not know how you feel about your loved one. He does and wants you to know He has gone through any emotion that you have experienced. He was there. He saw it. He felt it. Jesus was dying to save us…to save you…to save Michaela.
The same evil force that made it necessary for Jesus to go through that agony is the one responsible for the unfortunate condition that saddles Michaela. God didn’t create that illness. Sin coming into the world by Adam did. There is coming a day when all sickness and hurts and tears will be no more. But that day is not here. Until then, Michaela has you and she has Michael. What a tremendous gift that is for her.
I regret your “lack of faith” started before Michaela was born. If that is true how on earth do you expect your prayers to be heard? I think God does hear and I have no doubt they were answered, but not in the way you were wanting them answered in that hour of greatest need. I will stop referring to this incident at this time because of the very sensitive nature of this matter between you and God and your child. I don’t wish to sound like I have the answer, because some things happen that I can’t explain. I don’t pretend to know. I do believe the God who made Heaven and Earth cares. He loves you. He loves your children. Your testimony that you give about your holding Michaela and praying and crying is so sad and touching and heart breaking. But when you say, “My prayers were completely for her. No answer. No healing. Nothing.” That is not exactly true. You may not have received a complete healing, but she did recover. There was something! But the saddest thing you report is that “We just carried on the same as if I didn’t pray.” God is calling to you out of the circumstances of life and you pay no heed to Him. You carry on just as if there is no God.
Your sarcasm expressed as you attempt to put words in my mouth about prayer when you say, “I know what you are gonna say, because I have heard it before…” is not fair, or true (at least where I am concerned). I am the first to admit that I don’t really know much about prayer. I am mystified when God answers any prayer of mine. I want Him always to answer, but many times the answer I seek does not come. It has not come for you. I have had plenty answers, but others seem to dissipate over time without the benefits I seek.
I am going to place before you a good word about prayer. The answer you are seeking is most likely in these verses, but you must dig them out. Because here are the riches of the kingdom revealed from the very lips of Jesus in response to one asking Him to teach them how to pray.
1And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3Give us day by day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
5And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? “
Chrissy, I truly believe the answer you seek is wrapped up in these verses on prayer. Whether or not you ever dig them out is entirely up to you. I will not trouble you any further on these matters. I remain your friend and I have, to the best of my ability, answered every question you have raised the only way I know how—from the Bible. When I do not have an answer—I do not equivocate—I tell you straight out I do not know.
I am greatly pained that you express this “sarcasm” as you say, for the concept of God and His Word. I pray that you will repent and trust Him before it is too late. If there is ever any thing that I can do for you, or Michael I hope you will not hesitate to let me know.
Jesus, referring to His beloved Israel said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37
Listen to the passion in His words and feel the love he must have had for His people. How often He would have gathered them to Himself. He has that same kind of love and passion for you.
Chrissy says: “I admire people who can but again, I don’t think it’s for everyone. It’s certainly not for me.”
Ron Says: It is for everyone and it could be for you. You are in the driver’s seat. The call is yours to make. Remember what Jesus said in that verse above, “And ye would not!” –Matthew 23:37 He wanted them to say, “Yes.” But they chose to say, “No!”
I am writing out my prayer for you: “Lord, the best I know how I have responded to the concerns that Chrissy has shared with me. She has, I believe, been honest and fair and straight. She has convinced me she is not a believer. She does not trust You. She does not trust Your Word and she does not believe in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. She does not believe in your resurrection. She accepts that some do believe this and she respects this, but it is not for her. I pray that you will open her blind eyes to the truth of your Gospel. I pray that You will draw her to Yourself through whatever means necessary to win her. I believe she is a special lady and she loves her family dearly. I pray that she will come to know just how dearly You love her. In Jesus’ Name. ”