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Argument with God  

Sometimes the Word of God really messes with your life.  Have you noticed?

The other morning, I prayed on the train in to Chicago that God would specifically direct me to someone who needed some encouragement, or something of Jesus Himself.   Know what happened?  Nothing.  Nothing that morning.   In fact, nothing out of the ordinary happened all day long. 

That afternoon, as I walked the 1.5 miles back to the train, I reviewed some memory work, the third chapter of First John. Because it helps to cement the verses, I often quote them out loud.  I was three-fourths of the way to the train and about to turn a familiar corner.  That's when he came into view.

A homeless man, baseball cap shielding him from the afternoon sun, crouched on the corner.  As I walked past his outstretched paper cup and the donation plea that went with it, I was actually hearing my own voice recite 1 John 3:17: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

I managed to make it almost to the other side of the street when the unwanted selfie of my own Phariseeism prompted an inner conversation:

“Really?!  You can quote that verse about seeing a brother in need and not have pity on him?  Exactly what, then, is the point of memorizing this passage?”

“But what if I’m just empowering his drug or alcohol addiction?”

Well….even I know you can't win an argument with the third member of the Trinity.   I knew at once I needed to make a U-turn back to the man on the corner. As I gave the guy some money, I said something about the Lord.  He immediately produced a Bible in a surprisingly nice case.   “I haven't had one of these in a long time,” he said.  “Believe me.  I use it.”  I had no reason to doubt him.  We talked a bit further and he gave evidence of a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

So why was that guy there on the street corner?  Did God place him there just to check my integrity?  I don't know.

I can only confess my own struggle and remind you as I remind myself: It is not advisable to attempt an argument with the Holy Spirit.  Trust me--you can't win!

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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