Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
"You Can't Please Everybody"
Jul. 11, 2018
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
~ Psalm 111:10 (ESV)
Years ago, when I was teaching confirmation class I got to the topic of the Lord's omnipotence. Considerable time was spent on helping the class understand that God is powerful enough He can do anything. Thinking we were finished, I took one last look at the class before I moved on to the next subject.
That glance showed a student with her arm up, her hand waving excitedly: "Pastor! Pastor! Pastor!" she said.
"I know something God can't do."
I sighed. "Yes, just what is it God can't do?" I asked.
Her reply came in four words: "God can't please everybody."
My confirmand was right. The Lord can't win when -- at the same time -- He gets a prayer from a farmer asking that rain be sent on his parched fields and a prayer from a child asking that there be beautiful skies, as his father has promise to take him fishing, if it's a nice day.
What does the Lord do with the prayers He receives on the same day? One comes from a sick grandfather who is in pain and ready to leave this world, and the other originates with the man's grandson who is not ready to say farewell to his grandfather, his best and dearest friend.
Two weeks ago, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was in the news.
He made the news primarily because he let it be known the Lord doesn't please him. In fact, the president said, "God was stupid." When his mostly Catholic country took offense at his words, he kind of clarified himself.
In his clarification, he explained: "What I said was your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense." Some of the things God has done which has disappointed the president are
1. placing the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the Garden of Eden;
2. the doctrine of original sin;
3. Eve. According to the president, Eve was God's "greatest mistake."
Now the president has the right to his opinion. God has never forced anyone to believe anything.
On the other hand, as the psalmist said, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" Respecting the Lord's wisdom and decisions shouldn't be a hard thing to do. After all, our minds are small, finite, and subject to considerable error. In contrast, the Lord sees all, forgets nothing, and was able to cause light to come from a billion-billion stars with a word.
More than that, even though we may not be able to understand all of the Lord's decisions, we can never doubt the goodness of His intentions. The Father who sent His Son into this world to offer Himself as our ransom from sin has shown His complete commitment to our salvation. We may never understand the rich measure of His grace, but we can always offer up our thanks.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Your ways are not ours; Your thoughts are far above ours. Grant that we may always be appreciative for the things we think we understand and the things we know we don't. This we ask in the Redeemer's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Christine Rousselle on the Catholic News Agency, dated June 27, 2018. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/after-calling-god-stupid-duterte-seeks-collaboration-with-bishops-89347
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Years ago, when I was teaching confirmation class I got to the topic of the Lord's omnipotence.