Friday, May 14, 2010

Catch 22 Situations..

I was thinking last night that sometimes life can seem to trap people. For example, if you take a person who is afraid of flying, and tell them that they can be free, that there is a centre that offers help with the perfect solution for their flying fear, but this centre is over the other side of the World, and the only way for them to get there is to fly... it's a catch 22 situation... it seems virtually impossible for them to be cured.... how can they get there if they are too afraid to fly there? but how can they lose their fear of flying if they can't get to the only treatment centre? I know this is a pretty poor example, but it's the best i could think of when i am as sleep-deprived as i am today.

I guess what i'm getting at, is that often we are faced with these kind of situations. Even someone who doesn't know God is said to be blind or spiritually dead... how can a blind or dead person see or recognise God? They can't.... without having eyes or without being given life. Sometimes i think that the commands of God can feel a bit like this... like God is telling us to do things that feel impossible... but then i was thinking just now about a quote i once heard by John Bunyan:

Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

It reminds me of an article i once read by John Piper. In fact, i had forgotten about it until i started writing this post (which i must admit i started writing from a completely negative viewpoint), and so i just looked the article up. He says

"We are duty-bound to run, even though our feet are willfully frozen in the ice of sin. We can't run in ourselves, and so the commands of the law condemn. And the gospel is not different in having no commands, no conditions. Flying is harder than running. But 'Far better news the gospel brings: it bids us fly and gives us wings.' The fatalist says, "I can't fly. I can't even run. My feet are frozen in my genetic makeup and my dysfunctional family of origin. And besides that I don't have any wings. I cannot fly. That's the way i am" But over and against that fatalism, the gospel says, "Fly!.." "

In essence, we have to trust that God gives what He commands. As Piper says "If God says to desire, when we don't desire, then we trust Him that He must have some power we don't have. There must be a way.... God commands it. So there must be a way. I will not settle for less than what God commands, even if it is a command to fly.... "

I guess too that this is at the heart of the definition of faith. It says in Hebrews 11.1 that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So even if you cannot fly, if it seems impossible, you still trust God. You have faith that if He commands it, He will enable you to do it.. and this faith, this trust, this reaching out to take hold of what God says, is actually the very thing that brings it into being.. it's the substance of what you hope for. And i reckon that often, as God speaks His commands to us, He actually creates the answer to them in us as well. Like when He spoke the World into being. It wasn't that He commanded there to be light, and somehow light had to conjure itself up of it's own accord... His commanding was the thing that created the light. His words brought it about... all the power came from Him. So, i guess, even though sometimes it seems like we live in catch 22 situations, this isn't actually the case.. though i wrote this post initially thinking that so many people in this world are just trapped and i was feeling disheartened as i wondered how they could ever be free, the truth is that actually with God all things are possible.. even those things that seem most impossible... like flying, when you are too afraid, or have no wings.

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