A Christmas Question: Where is He?

December 5, 2017

“… Behold, wise men …came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He?” (Matthew 2:2)

In the Old Testament, God begins dialogue with us by asking the question: “Where are you?” The New Testament begins with wise men asking the question: “Where is He?” If we are spiritually wise, as we read the Old Testament God will show us where we truly are. By the time we reach the New Testament we’re ready for the question of the wise men, because we know by then that we need a Savior – and we need to know where our Savior, Jesus, is.

Wise people still ask the question, “Where is He?” The Gospel of Matthew reports that those wise men were directed to a house where they found and worshiped a young Child about two years of age. By application, when we ask that question today, what are the answers we should expect to receive?

In John’s profound letter at the end of the New Testament we find these words: “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1John 3:2) These three words “as He is” raise the question in what form, and in what ways, can we expect to find Jesus today?

If you want to be spiritually wise, ask the question: “Where is He?” Then look where a unique quality of Love can be found today. Look for where a unique quality of Light and Truth can be found today. Since we do not find Him in a test tube or a fossil, look for Jesus in an abundant spiritual dimension of life.

Dick Woodward, 07 December 2010

Why and Oh

August 25, 2012

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

The word we use most in this life is, “Why?” and the word we will use most in the next world will be, “Oh!”  The Providence of God is like a Hebrew word: we have to read it backwards.  By the Providence of God I mean that God is in charge and the events of our life have meaning.  Sometimes it is as if we are on the inside of a woven basket.  All the threads that come up on the inside of the basket represent the way we see the things that happen to us, which seem to have no meaning or pattern at all.  If we could just get out of that basket, on the outside we would see beautiful woven patterns.

Job is the biblical example of a man who tried to sort out, by looking inside the basket, what appeared to be the tragic meaninglessness of his life.  It was not until he looked up and saw all his tragic circumstances from God’s perspective that he was moved from asking, “Why?” to exclaiming, “Oh!” (Job 35: 1-7; 40-42)

In Psalm Eleven, verse three, the Psalmist asked a question: “If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?” The NIV version of the Bible has a footnote that suggests this alternate reading: “When the foundations of your life are breaking up, what is the Righteous One doing?”

My wife and I have made that question a knee jerk reaction to the events of our life as they happen.  As a result, although we’re not on the other side yet we are already saying, “Oh!”

Will you confront the challenges you encounter daily with that same question?

A Dialogue with God

July 1, 2012

“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?… And He said, ‘Who told you?’”  (Genesis 3: 9, 11)

A police officer on a motorcycle noticed a large enclosed truck driven down Sixth Street, in Los Angeles, California.  The driver stopped every few blocks, got out of the truck, and beat around the sides of the truck with a large baseball bat. After observing this for some time, the officer turned on his siren, flashed his lights and with strong hand signals ordered the driver to pull over.  The policeman asked the driver, “Mister, as far as I can tell, you’re not breaking the law.  But I just gotta know, what are you doing?”

The truck driver explained, “Officer, this truck here has a capacity of five thousand pounds.  But, you see, I got six thousand pounds of canaries in this truck.  So, I gotta keep a thousand pounds of canaries up in the air all the time!”

When you begin reading the Bible it may surprise you to discover that the first four things God says to us are questions.  Why would the creator God ask questions of the man He has created?  I’m convinced God does this because He knows His creature is up in the air about life.  God loves us too much to leave us without a definition of life and some direction.  He wants to dialogue with us so He can bring what he calls salvation into our life.

Are you up in the air about your life?  Because He loves you God would like to greet you with that question “Where are you?” and follow it with the question “Who told you?” when you respond to Him.

A Fierce Storm and A Profound Question

June 7, 2012

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’   So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?’    When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”           (Mark 4: 35-40 LB)

I have not posted a blog for quite some time because I had a medical crisis that put me in the hospital followed by a limited ability to work for about eight weeks.  This experience has reminded me of the story above of a fierce storm that was turned into a great calm by a profound question asked by Jesus.

The disciples clearly believed they were all going to drown including Jesus. The question of Jesus was essentially “When are you going to get some faith?” In other words, “Do you think that all I have told you about My kingdom and your part in it is going to drown at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee?”

Jesus promises to take us to the other side.  When fierce storms break into our lives they will not invalidate what Jesus is doing in and through us if we will let this profound question turn our fierce storms into a great calm.

Wheat and Weeds

January 24, 2012

“The farmer’s workers went to him and said,‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ ‘An enemy has done this while men slept!’ the farmer exclaimed. ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest.”  (Matthew 13: 27-30)

The question “Where did evil come from?” has baffled spiritual and ethical leaders since people began to think and ask questions.  People who read the Bible ask this question – in this parable Jesus implies two answers.

In almost six decades as a pastor people have often told me there are hypocrites in the church.  They told me this as if they thought it never would have occurred to me, but actually it was no surprise to me and it would be no surprise to Jesus. In this parable He told us His church would be a mixed bag.

He also instructed us that we are not to weed the garden because we cannot tell the difference between the two.  We are to let both grow together until the harvest when He will separate the wheat from the weeds.

His two answers to that old question about where evil came from are: “an enemy has done this” and “while men slept.” Edmund Burke told us that all we have to do for evil to triumph is to do nothing.  Jesus told us all we have to do is sleep.

The truly important though less obvious questions raised by this parable are: “Are we wheat or are we weeds?” What are we contributing to the harvest?  Are we producing more wheat or more weeds? Are we asleep?  Are we doing nothing?”