As I sit here with a red X on my hand (visit enditmovement.com), I can’t stop thinking about a belief that was recently shared with me. Everyone knows that religion and politics are “hot button” & there are bound to be differing opinions on issues dealing with these topics. Here’s an idea recently shared with me from this area: “If people are poor, they’re poor so if they have less opportunity because of that, they just have to deal with the cards they were dealt.” I can’t begin to explain all the thoughts that flooded my mind, but the first thing that was there this morning when I woke up was clarity from God and the Bible about this idea.
I will start by saying this: My aim is not to be a Republican or Democrat in this world. My aim is to be a follower of Christ, and in that great calling to align my life and heart with what He has called me to. In that goal, I will share why this was so troubling to me and what came so clearly as soon as I opened my eyes this morning. It struck me so hard that I knew it was significant, and I grabbed my phone to make notes so I would not lose one word in the morning shuffle. Here’s what came:
- I was dealt Adam’s cards from the moment I was created. I came into this world a sinner. I was condemned to death and eternity apart from God. When the deception in the garden happened, satan thought he had won. What satan didn’t know was that before the foundations of the Earth were laid, God knew the story. He looked throughout time, and the most pivotal event the world would know was already planned. The crucifixion of the Son of God was not a back up plan. While satan was celebrating, he did not realize that what he had done would be used for our good and God’s glory. I was dealt Adam’s cards, but because God called me into relationship with Him, Jesus died so that the death that was placed in my hands could be replaced by a garment of praise purchased by the holder of the name above every name.
- Ezekiel 16:
“And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 16:4-14. In this passage of scripture, we see ourselves. We were orphaned in sin and condemed to die in it. Yet God looked at us and said “Live!” Not only did He say that, but then He covered our shame and made us His. He saw you as precious, and at great cost to Himself, did not leave you to die. This passage always reminds me of something near and dear to my heart. No one wants baby girls in China so they take them to rooms and leave them to die. They abandon them just like this. If those are just the cards those baby girls were dealt, should no one seek to find these places and rescue them?
- Where does this put us in view of missions? What does this say about the Great Commission (Matt. 28:9)? The implications in this kind of thinking are so far reaching. Should we not go? If I was born in a place where the gospel never reached me, are those just my cards? I say no to this because God says no to this throughout the callings given to believers over and over again. Have you ever known someone who was a foster child or adopted or both? If the families that take them in love them well, make them a part of their family, and share the hope and love of God for them and with them, they are giving them a whole new deck to play with. It is a beautiful thing. They need that new deck. They need to know that love and safety, but what would their world become without this beautiful mission field? I have a friend who adopted three babies recently & the fierceness which she loves and prayed and fought for her babies with is inspiring and reflective of the very heart of God!
- Lastly, I woke up thinking about both the sons in the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). Both were born in the home of a father who loved them. Both were completely wasteful. Obviously the younger son had the audacity to ask for his inheritance before his father died, and then he squandered it. Imagine how incredibly selfish and entitled someone would have to be to even ask. He was not the only one wasting His inheritance. The older brother wasted the availability of his father’s love and the opportunity to extend mercy to his brother. Though this was all true, the father joyously welcomed the younger son back home & invited the older brother into that joy. Both of these brothers were dealt amazing decks to draw from & both wasted it. I think this is a lot like so many of us sometimes. We fail to see the real value in it all. Christ did not save you so that you could have a comfortable life with nice things. He saved you for His glory, your good, and because there’s a dying broken world that needs to hear the hope that is now in you. How often do we waste the inhereitence God gave us so generously like the father in the prodigal son story by living like we are entitled to it? At best I deserve hell apart from Christ because my sin made me an enemy of the very cross He died on.
I think this is a core issue in this thinking. We don’t see ourselves for what we really are. We see ourselves as not so bad or people who never walked in those “really bad” sins or whatever. However good you feel about your sin, IT KILLED JESUS. IT MURDERED HIM. IT COST HIM EVERYTHING TO LOOK INTO YOUR CUP AND DRINKING IT ALL IN. How can you feel like you deserve anything if you see the truth in that? How can you feel like people should just get what they get and deal with it when Jesus saved you from that very same fate you carelessly accept for others?
We don’t get to have it both ways. The reasons the implications for this are so big is because it is a worldly view that is reflective of a real heart issue. Either Christ is all and Lord of every part of our lives or He isn’t. Either we align our heart and world view with popular opinion and politics or Him. It can’t be both!
I pray for all of us to be greatly aware of the cost of buying into this thinking. All life is precious to God. He made it all, and my great hope is that no one could look at someone God created in any circumstance and not see them through the same lens that God sees them through – deserving of nothing, but given everything not because we are good but because He is.