That chilly morning I saw my warm breath exhaling before me. I had difficulty keeping up with Ernie. I struggled to make my legs stretch farther and move faster.
We were headed to the bus stop. We followed this same route every weekday workday. The bus shuttled us to our job. As I worked to stay even with my friend, in the midst of taking in more air, Ernie said:
“Isn’t it a mistake to suppose that Good is fighting a knock down drag out war with Bad?”
I’d nearly caught up to Ernie. “What do you mean?”
“I mean we’re blind, we refuse to see the big picture.” Ernie made sweeping motions with his outstretched arms.
“How can that be? … You’re being a little too naive, don’t you think?”
“No … I’m not. God finished off evil a long time ago.”
“Well if that’s true, then why am I havin’ such a tough time with evil?”
“That’s the point. You’re having a tough time with evil, but God isn’t. You’re fighting, but God has already won the bout with evil.”
Two more blocks. I visualized the bus stop bench. Thankfully my breathing had slowed. Breathe in. Breathe out. Pace yourself. “What makes you say so?”
“God sent His Son.”
“Right … so?” We rounded the corner. I spotted the bench. The end was near.
“So God took care of evil’s intimidation through His Son and the problem of evil has been solved.”
“Yep, but many don’t think so or live like it’s only a half-done deal.”
“I can see why … look around, the evidence of bad is everywhere.” I recalled last night’s newscast—more bullying, more greedy competition, and more sex crimes.
“Yes, but it doesn’t have to be this way.”
“What world are you living in? You can’t be serious! … so tell me Ernie, why is it this way?”
“It’s this way because we refuse to cooperate with Good. We see no advantage in cooperating with our Creator.”
“Hasn’t it always been this way in our short history? We contend with bad rather than cooperate with Good.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Our life since leaving the Garden of Eden. We don’t recognize the inherent benefits of our relationship with God. As a consequence, we’re clueless to what we’re missing.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes because we’re blinded by our darkness.”
“That’s right the absence of light … darkness.”
“Can you give me an example?”
“Sure. You’re life can be immediately better, you don’t have to wait until you die.”
I almost stopped walking. “That’s confusing.”
“No it isn’t. People need to begin living like Jesus said …”
“… What did Jesus say?”
“I came to bring you life in all its fullness.”
“And this means?”
“We can live a better life than we do.”
“How’s that?” Five hundred yards to go.
“Continually cooperate with God. Quit continually cooperating with evil.”
“Well not simple because it requires repeatedly making good choices.”
A football field to go.”Is this doable?”
“Yes it is because Jesus has overcome evil.”
“Jesus did all of this?”
“He did. We have benefits we’re not aware of … never mind use.”
“So you’re saying I can live better than I am?” We’d arrived. I sat down on the bus stop bench and sighed a sigh of relief.
“Yes. Evil has had its day. When we cooperate with the Lord we enjoy protection and safety. Although we still have conflict and face chaos we can live inside the benefit of a victory already won and established.”
The bus pulled to the curb in front of us. “Ernie, it seems like a dream.” I pushed myself up from the bench, took a couple of stiff steps, grabbed a hold of the bus’ cold handrail, pulled myself up the three steps and, before sitting down, dropped my five quarters into the coin box for the ride downtown.
“Yeah, it seems like fantasy, but tell yourself and your friends it’s truth.”
“Right … cooperate with Good and don’t cooperate with bad … then I’ll start living inside the benefits.”
“You got it. You’ll gain what you’ve been missing.”
“Okay.” I slumped onto the bus’ seat.
“It’s the big benefit potential working for you.”
“Tell my friends …”
“Jesus is ready and waiting to benefit them.” Ernie watched the morning on-the-way to work traffic. He smiled a knowing smile, acting like a man who just pushed himself away from the dinner table.
Is God’s goodness still battling evil’s badness? Evidently not in Ernie’s life. How about your life?
What’s your biggest Christian life challenge?
Bonus song: Angela Cruz All His Benefits
Maybe this has happened to you, maybe not.
I’ve become frustrated because I have this extraordinary wealth from God and haven’t learned how to take hold of it.
What I’m saying is all my religious learning and practice hasn’t made me savvy enough to open up the treasure chest Christ has made available to me.
This treasure chest, which will meet my every need and desire and hope, is visible before me.
Time and again I’m disappointed because, although I know this treasure exists, I don’t know how to use it. That’s nuts.
So, I’ve decided it’s time to change my behavior. It’s time to stop living in poverty (so to speak) … especially spiritually.
I mean imagine what would happen if I actually began to take and apply what God has handed over to me in Christ Jesus?
Thinking about this I spent a few minutes listing real possessions I should be enjoying. Then afterwards, I examined what I’d written.
Then I cried.
I cried because the list is long of what I could delight in, but don’t.
This makes me sad.
It makes me sad because I could have better.
I want God’s best … how about you?
Thanks for listening to Lee’s Nite Radio.