Walking down the footpath at Leonard Harrison State Park in Pennsylvania, we discovered a strange stone building. It was full of openings of various sizes, and each tourist who walked by couldn’t stop himself from checking it out, trying to make sense of the strange structure.
“This is where they burned bodies. I am certain of this!”
“No way! This is where they burned railroad ties. They had to be burned somewhere!”
“Maybe it’s just a place to attract wondering tourists!”
My wife and I had our own theories, but instead of dwelling on the fantasies of our mind, we went and asked a park ranger. It was, after all, her park. She would certainly know the reason for the mysterious building. And sure enough, she did: The simple truth is that when the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) were constructing paths and lookouts in the 1930s, they built this mysterious building to burn their garbage. Neither body nor railroad tie had ever been burned there!
Just as the many speculations over that strange-looking building, there are a variety of interpretations about salvation. Which one is Truth? Why not ask God directly? Isn’t He the One who created us? He is the One who will know the truth!
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17 NIV)
We can continually ponder this. Strangely enough however, our world is more eager to accept religions that encourage retaliation and vengeance in the name of their God. Haven’t we all been wronged by despicable individuals who think the world owes them something? Religions that proclaim salvation through works are also acceptable. Don’t we get what we want in life by working extra hard? And religions proclaiming that we will eventually all become like gods are also acceptable in our society. In fact, we even easily accept religions that proclaim salvation to anyone! Why worry about our mistakes? Heaven is just a continuation of our current life!
Strangely, enough our world has a harder time accepting a God of love who willingly allowed His own son to be sacrificed to pay the consequences we deserved when we erred from the straight path.
But why the skepticism about a loving God? Is it possible that we, as humans, don’t know what true love is? Have our hearts been so hardened that we cannot fathom offering ourselves or our children for the well-beings of others? Why would God love us so much? It makes no sense! Unless … unless we invite our Maker into our lives and discover through Him how madly in love He is with us. So much that He would sacrifice Himself to save us.
All those religions that are so acceptable in the world do not give the inner peace offered by the One who died for us: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27 NIV)
They don’t even offer a deep-down assurance of salvation! “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor 1:21-22 NIV)
How can there be so many Truths? How can it be true that when we lie, we can just refer it to as our version of the truth? How come we can call stealing a justifiable means to meet our own needs?
Are we flirting with the dark side? What would a just, loving God think of our interpretations? Are there really nuances to truth? “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4 NIV)
If we want to know the Truth we need to ask God directly what Truth truly is. A hungry heart will always be satisfied: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:9-11 NIV)
What better gift is there than knowing Truth. We are so tired of the lies that surround us. Politicians promise us the moon, but instead, our taxes increase. Advertisements promise us gold, instead we receive junk. The stock market promise us a bright retirement, instead we see our savings plunging towards the zero mark. Are we truly satisfied with what the world considers “acceptable”?
“Maybe this building is a pigeon habitat. Look at the many holes. It would be a haven for them!”
Would it really?
(To access the entire “The Word Became Flesh” devotional series, please click here.)