Love letter from a friend

I hope you don't mind. I need to have this here so that I can read it... often.

Dearest C,

I had some more thoughts come to my mind this weekend, after reading your last several blogs. 

I heard a recurring theme in a couple of them (the Phantom blog, and the Eat, pray, love blog):  one who does not allow me to have free choice—is not trustworthy, and not worthy to be loved.

So, one question that begs to be answered is:  so what does God do with people who make different choices than He wants?

The phantom manipulates and controls.  So--are the Phantom and God alike?!

OK, so we know you DON’T trust the Phantom (or the dude on Eat, pray love),--so what kind of a person WOULD you trust?

Maybe someone who loves you for who you are? who encourages you to be the best you can be? who allows you free choice—to stay, or not to stay? “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”  TRUE LOVE cannot be FORCED by fear, power, or money.  If so—we would be slaves, employees, or prostitutes.  No—God calls us His FRIENDS—and His BRIDE!

I encourage you to spend some time with the Parable of the prodigal son, considering what it tells us about God, and free choice .   When Jesus decided to tell us how He deals with His kids—even when they do things He wishes they wouldn’t—this is the story He told!

*  **  **  **  **  ** 

Wow--I love this about God!  I love that He allows me free choice—no matter how He feels about it—and longs to have me back.  Now, I want God to give ME free choice.  But I’m not so sure He should necessarily give free choice to others.  I mean—do YOU think He should have allowed the prodigal son free choice?  Because the Prodigal son hurt other people while he was living a wild life.  He hurt the women he took advantage of.  He probably hurt his friends in dishonest business deals. . . . maybe he hurt his girlfriend and his horses in a drunk-chariot-driving accident.   The Bible doesn’t tell us about all the people he hurt while he was living his crazy life.  But I know that he did, because that’s what sin does.  And it doesn’t just hurt the person who DOES the sin.  It hurts the people that are a part of the sinner’s life, too.   That’s sin.

So, I’m glad that God allows ME free choice.  But I don’t think He should allow other people free choice.  If they are going to do anything worse than earn speeding tickets—then I think God should force them.

What?!  I hear you cry.  What are you saying!?  OK, OK.  You’re right.  I take that back.  God doesn’t force anyone.  That’s one of the very foundations of a perfect-love relationship.  Each party is there because they WANT to be.

That’s one thing that you are longing for in a truly intimate relationship some day.  Free choice and respect of your free-will.  And here-in lies the big problem.  If the foundation of God’s character is LOVE, and love allows free choice, then who should He allow to have free choice—to have a love relationship with God, or not. You?  B-----?  H-----? S------? R------? G------?!!!!!!!

Every person has free choice—to follow God’s good ways, or choose ways of rebellion and sin.  And every time they choose to follow ways of sin—someone gets hurt.  They get hurt personally—and too many times, others around them suffer, too.   Is it fair?  NO!  For God’s sake NOOOOO!!!  It is not fair.  SIN IS NOT FAIR!!!! And God completely agrees.

But created beings are still having a hard time ‘getting it’.

So if, out of LOVE and MERCY, He gives everyone free choice—then what kind of God do we have?!!!  Is He like a spineless teacher, who sits and watches helplessly while the bullies beat up on the wimps of the class?

That’s what we would have—if LOVE and MERCY were the only things in God’s character.  But that’s not all. . .! (Paid TV advertising, anyone!?).  There is also JUSTICE and WISDOM and POWER, and UNSELFISHNESS. . .

**---The JUSTICE in his character says, “I will NOT allow this sin problem to last forever—I WILL solve it once and for all—forever.  It will NEVER raise it’s ugly head to bring pain and sorrow again.”
**---The WISDOM in His character has designed a PLAN to deal with it—successfully.  And what does ‘success’ look like?  1.  Sin will never arise again (What we discussed already—Only when created beings are  all TOTALLY convinced that sin is completely intolerable, will sin never arise again.)  and 2. As many as possible will be saved from it.   But this is also hard, for in His wisdom, He knows that more time must go by, to ensure success.  So He hasn’t lowered the final boom.   From my perspective and yours, that is a problem.  Because that means that we are still suffering the natural results of God allowing us and others, to have free choice.  For while there is sin—it will always hurt.

**---The UNSELFISHNESS of His character put Him in the middle of the battleground—and led Him to demonstrate the depth of His love through suffering, pain and death.  When our hearts cry, “But God—You just can’t understand how much it hurts to be betrayed. . . or misused. . . or abused. . .or lied to. . . or be in the most agonizing physical pain. . .”   He really DOES know.  And the really crazy thing is He CHOSE that pain, of His own free will—because of the lesson is could teach! (How many times has that lesson been MISSED?!) I wouldn’t choose pain like that.  Would you CHOOSE your pain, if there were any other option?!!!

Does this sound like the phantom!!??  ANYTHING even remotely like the phantom?

Will the real Phantom of the Opera please stand up!?  Satan wants to paint God as the Phantom of the Opera!!!

I suppose this all is why Joy Swift (They’re All Dead aren’t They?) finds comfort in looking ahead.  She has been able to see God for who He really is.   Love, mercy, justice, wisdom, unselfishness. . . . Joy can see God's cosmic plan in action.   The rescue vehicle has not yet arrived; Justice has not been served—yet! And while she waits for Him, she still has HOPE.   It is coming!  And she TRUSTS that it will be worth waiting for.

I so much want to be able to promise you what kids in Kindergarten class want to believe:  That IF I obey mommy and give my offering for the missionaries, THEN God will not let me hurt.  Oh, dear God—I want to promise you that.  I want to promise D that he will stop hurting and that he won’t lose his colon.  I want to tell him that church people will always be nice and tell the truth.  I want to promise my friend Debbie that her mom is not going to hurt, while she has bone cancer.  But I CAN’T!

I can’t, because that’s not what the Bible says.  It only says that ‘all those things’ will not be able to destroy our souls, by separating us from the love of God.  It only says that we will be more than conquerors—through all those things!  It only says that ‘The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

It would be wrong of me to tell you a lie about what it means to live in a world of sinners who have free choice.

(Truly, living a family/church life by God's principles really does reduce the pain we have to deal with.  My parents and I were just rejoicing over that this weekend.  We are working out some business dealings that are going to allow them to live here on our property, so we can care for them in their golden years.  We are having to ask each other difficult questions. . .'What if you died?  What if I died?  Then what?  What if I my parents are debilitated--what am I willing to do for them?"  The huge blessing is--D and I, and both of my parents--all have each others best at heart.  We are working out how we can care for each other in the difficult circumstances that will probably face us down the road.  So many families make these plans amid fighting and pain.  We are so privileged to make these plans, in an atmosphere of love.  God's principles DO reduce the pain that we have to live with.  But they certainly don't eliminate pain.  

We are going to have to go through pain.   But at LEAST—I can promise that God IS MAKING YOU A CONQUEROR!  I have seen it.  I have been watching.

I write all this, and look back on it, and say to myself—who am I to even try to say something about this?  It might not even speak to anything in your heart.  And if not—at least you can know you are never far from my thoughts.

I ADMIRE your bravery.  To face your questions and your brokenness.  To tell the truth.  To seek.  To risk.  I am SO PROUD OF YOU.

And remember—I say this, with all sincerity—in spite of all you have shared with me!

I am completely convinced that God, having seen all that brings you to where you are today, feels the same way I do. 


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