It is not uncommon to think of God as a conqueror who extends the reign of his kingdom in this world. He defeats the forces of evil and advances boldly. We love to hear stories about radical change, instant turn arounds, and sudden shifts of alliegance, turning from darkness to light. But does it always work that way?
While we can say that God does conquer evil and in some cases affects immediate change, I wonder if God’s subtle, organic, and patient approach is tends to resemble rehab. After going through rehab for some shoulder and neck issues, I found that it was a lot of hard work and dedication, but over time the change was very real and my quality of life has improved dramatically. When I compare our hurting world to this little experience of mine, I think I see some similarities.
God just doesn’t invade and set things right immediately. Why? I’m not sure, but part of it must be that it’s the only way that many of us will change. Sometimes sudden change will happen, but more times than not, it’s God’s persistence and gradual rehabilitation of our broken lives that wins us over. He chooses not to force himself on us and selects the path that will lead to the most genuine, long-lasting, and authentic change possible. God’s ways appear slow to us, but in reality, they are the most effective.
I could probably say more, but that’s enough for now. Any thoughts on this? There are several directions that we could take this that would lead into some thorny issues. I wouldn’t mind that at all!