Day 222 - Permitting Versus Preventing
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
—HEBREWS 12:26, 27
I am fascinated by and enjoying the amazing move toward 3-D movies. My first real experience with this technology was at the World’s Fair in Seoul, Korea. I remember the little old women in traditional dress waving their hands in front of themselves to push away the images that appeared to be coming toward their faces. As an aside, I did make a mistake on that trip, in that there were few Westerners visiting and somehow the word spread among the crowd that I was Dustin Hoffman, the American actor. Out of politeness, I started signing autographs for the non-English-speaking spectators who had waited for me to emerge from an exhibit. It was people-pleasing gone mad, and it spiraled out of control when hundreds began to wait, and in the end I was exited out the back door of the fair! By the way, I am happy just being me. Well, back to the theater, where we are given glasses that allow us to see what the producer wants us to see, which are things that do not really exist.
In a like manner we are given “theological glasses” so that we will see what the giver wants us to see. Often it simply is not there. From our youth denominations have given us glasses to see what they desired to be seen. Something that must be twisted and distorted to be seen is rarely something true. Man is intent on knowing and systematizing God, which brings comfort to those who lack faith. Honestly, the mind of the created will never fully understand the mind of the Creator; it is not possible. The end result is the categorizing of believers. Are you Calvinist, Armenian, pre-tribulation, covenant, freewill, sovereignty, full-gospel, Spirit-filled, or more? When we hear a speaker, the glasses go on and we try to pigeonhole him. Often this is merely done to discount what is being said. Many actually are comforted by the thought that denominational leaders have already addressed all the pertinent issues, and therefore they do not need to. Of course, in all of this is the pride of man that makes him unteachable because of blindness and deafness. Why say all of this? Simply because I do not believe that the people of God are so stupid, unenlightened, ignorant, or “sheepish” (in the negative sense of the term) that the panic button needs to be hit when they hear something outside the denomination’s theological box. Denominational leaders generally hate and oppose the teaching of the equality of believers. After all, they have sat through countless meaningless meetings and kissed up to hordes of self-important men to get to the place of wearing a robe or in other ways being “recognized.” If all men and women were equal in Christ, they would have to admit to a wasted life. In fact, I have noticed that the truth of the equality of believers in revelation, relationship, and understanding of Christ creates a jealousy in those who have jumped through the hoops to gain some church-styled superiority.
Amen. I do not believe I know a thing more than any other believer, I have a special dispensation, I have a special handle on the truth, or others’ insights into Jesus are any less important than mine, period. This is the foundation for looking at permission and preventing. I am not speaking in Calvinistic, Armenian, freewill, foreknowledge, or any other terms. I am just posing a question to a fellow believer, to a brother or sister in Christ. Ready? Does God permit what He could prevent? To bring this question quickly into black and white, I will add suicide to my question. Does God permit some to commit suicide while He prevents others? If the answer is no, then we should stop praising God for situations in which a believer was delivered. I have heard hundreds of such testimonies.
“My son was to take the bus, we got him there late, the bus ended up going off a cliff, and everyone died. Praise God that my son was not on the bus.”
“There was a huge traffic accident, and if my daughter had been there one second earlier, she would not be here, praise God.”
“My husband, praise God, at the last minute was sent to a different unit; his former unit was attacked, and no one survived.”
“My wife overdosed, and her aunt she had not seen for years was in town, came to the house, called the police, and today my wife is alive, praise God.”
Now, if God did not prevent these things, we must just label them as fate, and fate must be praised. On the other hand, if we are to thank God for preventing a death, we must admit that He has permitted others to die. For some reason that thought is quite objectionable to believers. It seems to lead to questions, justifications, and accusations, such as, “What kind of a God permits wars, death, and accidents?” This begs for an answer to the turnaround question, “Well, what do you believe in: Buddha, Krishna, spirits, the government? How can you keep believing when those ‘gods’ permit wars, death, and accidents?” Wars, deaths, and accidents are all absolutes; however, preventing and permitting is not to be equated with causing. The worship of false gods does cause those things, sin in human beings does cause those things, but the Creator does not cause them. If I let the dominoes fall in the direction of saying that God does not permit and prevent, the end is chaos, and there is really no need to have a God but just press on in chaos and fate.
Therefore, I must say I believe God will both permit and prevent. This is not a stretch on two counts. First, I believe what the Scripture teaches, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (I Corinthians 15:50). This establishes an absolute: Man must die. This then leads to another Biblical truth: The days of man are numbered. If God numbers our days, then can a drunken driver shorten them? Could a war shorten them? Can cancer shorten them? Could suicide shorten them? I do not believe it is accurate to say that a murderer took a life; instead, he was the “means” by which the life was taken; he was not permitted to take the life until the fullness of time, for flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. I do not believe that cancer took the life of someone’s mate. I believe that flesh and blood do not enter the Kingdom of God and cancer was the means by which God permitted the loved one to exit.
To recap, God has numbered our days, we must exit, there must be a means of our exiting, and God permits or prevents the “means” according to His will and the number of our days already set. Therefore, if the means of exiting is suicide, murder, war, disease, or old age (which is technically a disease), what is the difference? Here is how I see it. God permits the perfect means to accomplish the most in His will. For example, look at murder, which did not happen without permission, His permitting. However, the means will accomplish much. For those who have a heart for the Lord, hearing the news will break them. My children attended Columbine High School, famous for the mass murders. Hundreds of students turned their hearts toward Christ. Those who were killed only exited by permission. Those who did the killing by permission had their hearts revealed also; they were murderers. The glory of God is in choice. He permits choice, but choice is within His parameters, so man chooses, but God, in a sense, restrains the choice until the perfect time, when the choice will either reveal the soft hearts of people or their hard hearts; they will receive a blessing or a curse. Their judgment will be “good and faithful servant” or “depart from Me.” Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by both the good God had provided for him and the curses brought to his land and people. Is that not amazing to see? Some have pitted themselves against God, and any occurrence not proving their assessment of Him must be twisted and distorted in their minds to continue to support their position. At that point God is condemned by them if He helps and condemned if He does not. Even the blessings of God prove to them that God is to be rejected. One day I will die. I do not know the means, but I believe those means will be perfect, and some will recognize Jesus, and others will have the cup of judgment filled as they refuse to see Jesus. God is really incredible!
Now, if God has permitted something unpleasant into our life, it was done out of love. He only permits in the believer’s life the things that will build the believer. I know so many people who would never have come to Christ had they not been abused. Does this mean God condones abuse? Never! It means He allows wicked men to choose, wicked men choose to do something wicked to victims, and those wicked men will be judged. However, it also means that God permitted the wicked to act in a believer’s life only because it would ultimately drive him to Jesus. Had it not driven him toward Christ, He would have prevented it. This takes revelation, but it will set the believer free and keep him from living in regret concerning an event in time; the enemy only knows the past and therefore comes to whisper, “If that had not happened to you, if God had prevented it, you would be fulfilled and happy.” It is a lie. The fact is that had the event not happened, the believer might never have come to know Christ. No doubt the wicked meant it to destroy the person, but God meant it to build him, and He has the last word.
Now, having established the above—that we must exit, there must be a means to our exit, and God will maximize the means of our exit—I will revisit my question. Is there a difference between exiting through old age or suicide? No! Many of us have had to experience a suicide in our families. I know the questions left unanswered. God permits. I have more stories from those who wanted to commit suicide and it did not work out than I do notes from families who had to deal with a suicide. God has both permitted and prevented. In our minds, the consequences of the “means” of exiting are much different. I must agree. Suicide is the most hurtful thing anyone can do to those he loves. It is much easier to blame a war or a drunk driver for a death than to blame the person who killed himself. However, I believe God did permit. Many “victims” of suicide have gone as far as they were going to go in this life concerning the revelation of Christ. God permits their exit in order to avoid many negatives that might come their way in the future. This is hard to grasp, since we only see someone’s exiting as missing out on blessings. This is deception, because we all know the daily struggles of life with a small “l” as we discover life with a capital “L.” I believe the God of LOVE permits a teenager to die in an accident because the revelation he needed was attained, and to remain on the earth would actually send him in reverse. I believe the same of the person who commits suicide.
I began all of this by saying that you have Christ, Christ is teaching you, and we believers are equal. This is my assessment, my gospel, and I have shared it with you. Amen.