Adrian McCartney

The Big Picture 1

04 Jun

A possible landscape.

The Big Picture 1

Without a landscape where are you going to paint the details?

 One of the most difficult things in the faith part of our lives is making sense of it all in an integrated way.  Now maybe that doesn’t bother you, but it bothers me lots.  I can’t bear contradictions or things that only make sense so long as they are never mentioned at the same time.  Like why God is seems so horrible in the Old Testament and yet so completely the opposite in the New Testament.  Why can the Bible tell us that God only has plans to prosper us and not to harm us and yet terrible things happen to people?  Why is God only described as good when we pass the exam or get a clear scan result or win that contract?

Anyway, the contradictions and un–thought–out mysteries could go on and on.  Some of them are quite good fun to consider and even interesting to discuss.  But some are downright serious and can’t be ignored.  We can never be content to mutter, “God works in mysterious ways…” as if that gets us all off the hook.

So, let’s exercise the mind for a few minutes.  Coronavirus19.  Did God send it?  Did he just let it?  Does he not care?  Is it some sort of punishment from God?  The internet has exploded with theories and ideas on all of these.  We all know about financial scams – watch out for those emails that look like they come from your bank!  Could I be so bold as to suggest that there are theological scams all around us.  Most are nothing worse than a sweet play on our emotions to make us feel better in the dark days of the virus.  Many are a very loose use of scripture (with little harm done).  Many are from sources and churches not accountable to us.  Are they consistent with the whole revelation of God in the Bible or are they just sound–bites, designed for effect?  Internet/fake news/exaggeration/unaccountability/no sources given????

You won’t have received many WhatsApp pictures of a respirator and the verse Romans 8:17, “We are the children of God…if we share in his sufferings.”   Who wouldn’t rather receive the picture of footprints walking across the beach.  Seriously, why would I want to embrace suffering with Christ, even if it is the path to my inheritance.  One of those contradictions we would rather not have to struggle with.

Did God send it?  Well, he certainly created it.  Nothing came from nothing.  Everything has a source, in whatever way we understand the creation idea (more next week on why He made it).

Here is another question.  Is God powerful enough to wipe out all evil, but chooses not to?  Or would God like to wipe out all evil, but does not have the power to do it?  Either lands us with a very disturbing image of God.  Here it is again: Is God powerful enough to wipe out all evil, but doesn’t want to, OR He does want to but does not have the power to do it?  Oh, I can hear the mutterings, “God moves in mysterious ways…”

We can’t leave these questions hanging like that.  It is not fair on those around us who doubt our faith because they think we don’t take it seriously.

Here is a possible answer.  God is powerful enough to wipe out all evil and He wants to.  In fact, He wants to wipe it out so much that He has already done it.  And it cost Him life.  These three must fit together.

1.     Creation; many throughout the centuries have understood it to be a much longer process than a week.  Thinking like this does not undermine our faith, or the Bible, or our wonder at the Creator God.  So, let’s put a huge timescale for God’s plans onto the desktop of our minds.  Remember in His timings a thousand years is but a blink of an eye.

2.      The temptations in the wilderness.   Jesus was tempted by Satan to take the shortcut to sorting the world out.  “Bow down and worship me.  Throw yourself off the temple roof.  Either way we can get the world sorted out pronto.”  Is that what we are asking God to do – sort out our world pronto?  Has it ever occurred to us that we may be echoing the taunting of Satan when we pray that God does it all for me right now? 

3.      Jesus chooses the better and longer path to recovery and redemption, giving us dignity and partnership in the receiving of it and becoming part of it.  All our prayers for healing and miraculous intervention have been answered.  Jesus does have the power to wipe out all evil and does want to do it.  “It is completed” was his cry from the cross.  Just like the creation of the world may not have been shrunk into days of a week, so we must allow our minds to see that from the first century until the revealing of the new heaven and the new earth, God is recreating, just as carefully and powerfully as He once created.  And we are part of it!!!!!!!  Get the BIG PICTURE.

Coronavirus, you can struggle with humanity all you want, but you will never be more powerful than our God’s redemptive healing plan.   History’s conclusion is already sealed with victory.  Coronavirus nil, Corona–thorns won (that isn’t a mistake).  Long live Messiah Jesus!


Why does God not do all the miracles and healings that would prove it?

How can God say He is love and allow terrible evil to exist?

What is judgement?

Is there a heaven and a hell?

How can we change the world?

Why are there so many churches?

What did Jesus come to do?

Did he do what He came to do?

Where do I fit in?

What is normal for a Christian – I am not sure if I am?