God taught reminded me of something the other day: he knows our needs long before we do. While that may sound like a Christian truism, it doesn’t take away from the awe when you experience it.
Not too long ago I posted a tweet that garnered some trolls. You know, those people who attack, mock, ridicule others out or malice or carelessness only to make themselves feel superior. God used that moment to show his love, grace, omniscience, and providence.
Even Christians can be Cruel
The Southern Baptist Convention is currently going through a difficult time. Scandal and controversy has arisen around Paige Patterson, a virtual giant in the SBC.
A few days ago I posted a tweet saying I was praying for the spiritual renewal and growth of Dr. Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and all Southern Baptists. I didn’t endorse any behavior. Here’s that tweet:
1. I pray for @_PPatterson_'s continual growth & for God to use him for the #gospel of Christ— John L. Rothra (@JRothra) May 23, 2018
2. I pray for @swbts as they seek the next President God has for them
3. I pray for all Southern Baptists as they seek unity & once again begin to forgive & to love as Christ loved us https://t.co/SPmrnlRK28
The next morning I noticed some reactions to the tweet. Two individuals chose to ridicule me, and at least one of them seemed to claim to be a Christian. Note: I discovered that those responses have since been deleted, probably by their authors.
I was hurt. I know I shouldn’t have been, but I was.
Let down by supposed Christians, I went to work with saddened. After arriving at the church, God revealed himself to me in a wonderful way.
God’s Grace and Love
While walking in, I noticed my phone was glowing. I looked at the screen to see what I had accidentally opened. Turns out, I had opened the YouVersion app, which I use for my daily Bible reading.
I wasn’t trying to open the app. In fact, I thought the phone was off.
I looked at the verse for that day and saw that it was Romans 8:31. I stopped, read it, and my spirit was lifted.
After I got inside, I sat at my desk and read the surrounding verses:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
– Romans 8:31-37 (ESV)
That was my first reaction.
Wow, what an amazing, awesome God!
Through these verses God reminded me that when someone ridicules, mocks, or attacks us for doing what is right and trying to glorify Christ, we should ignore them.
Just ignore the haters and trolls, even if they claim to be Christians.
Furthermore, God showed me that I should lean on him in those times.
So, what made this so amazing? Timing.
God’s Providence and Omniscience
I’m not sure how far in advance the people behind YouVersion schedule each passage. God, though, used them to speak to me and draw me closer to him.
Long before I thought about posting that tweet . . .
Long before I would read the responses . . .
Long before the controversy would erupt in the SBC . . .
God knew all this would happen and put that verse in place for that morning. He already knew I would be feeling let down, and that I would need comfort. More than that, God knew I would need divine love at that moment.
Now, I don’t say all this to elevate myself. I’m certain that verse touched many lives and helped many people. Rather, I want to emphasize this: God acted to make sure he was glorified and that those who need him (including me) would draw nearer to him.
It’s about God, not man.
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad God loves his creation enough to participate in their lives, to engage them where they are, and like the Prodigal’s father, to run toward me when I’m down.
Thank you, Jesus!