Too Good To Be True (Cassandra Millis)

Take a second to think of the most annoying people in the world. Drivers who speed down the “South Side Only” lane of the Liberty tunnel during rush hour only to try to merge to the downtown lane right before the bridge. People with far more than 10 items in the 10 items or less line. (And while we’re at it: people who make signs that say 10 items or less when it should be 10 or fewer. Wait what? Add people who are uptight about grammar to the list? Ok. Ok.) People who talk during movies. People paying attention to their phones instead of you when you’re speaking to them. Slow walkers. People who try to get on elevators before people have gotten off. The list can go on and on. And this is just stuff that annoys us- not even really bad transgressions.

If there is one point of Calvinism that I think is the most abundantly clear by simple observation, it’s Total Depravity: the idea that mankind, apart from God, is inherently riddled by sin and disposed to act selfishly rather than out of charity or looking to a greater good. This doesn’t mean that without God no one can do anything good, just that in general, our inclination is to “look after number one.” (Are people who use clichés on the list, too?)

This is why I’m really comfortable with the idea that we all deserve to die. (What about when people make sharp turns in writing from being light and maybe slightly funny to an abrupt heavy and upsetting statement? Is that annoying?) The New Testament readings of late have been in Romans which tells us quite clearly that the wages of sin is death, and all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God so… you do the math.

I’m comfortable with that. I’m comfortable with the idea of “refiner’s fire” that God puts us through challenges to bring us out on the other side strengthened and ready for whatever he has planned for us. I’m comfortable with Timothy’s declaration that anyone who believes in Christ Jesus as Lord will be persecuted. You know what makes me uncomfortable? “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

God wants to bless us. He wants to provide us with things that will bring us joy. Does this mean that God will give you anything you ask for? No. I’m not getting pulled down a prosperity gospel path, but apparently, the Bible is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. (That’s how the quote goes, right?)

Lent is certainly proof that God loves us. Indeed “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son” remember? And while Good Friday is a somber day for reflecting on just how depraved we are, Easter is a celebration of victory over death and sin and shame. Three things that are in direct opposition to happiness. So be strong and take heart because you will the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

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