Telling God to Go Away

This report appeared last week in The Times of Israel, and was carried by other news sources around the world. The reporter didn’t miss the humor of the situation. The judge probably laughed as well. Perhaps even God had a chuckle.

Man seeks restraining order against God
Haifa resident asks court to keep the Almighty away, claiming He is being mean to him
BY STUART WINER/ May 4, 2016
An Israeli man has petitioned the Haifa Magistrate’s Court for a restraining order against God, claiming the Almighty has been particularly unkind to him.

The initiator of the request, a resident of the northern port city, represented himself in court, the Walla news site reported on Wednesday.

A protocol of the hearing noted that God did not turn up for the session, although it did not specify how the court determined the Omnipresent was not in fact there, as opposed to merely exercising the right to remain silent.

The petitioner, who was not named in the report, noted that he had tried to obtain the restraining order from police for the past three years but that police had merely sent a patrol car to his home on 10 occasions.

He argued that over a three-year period God, had exhibited a seriously negative attitude toward him, although details of just what divine mischief he had borne the brunt of were not mentioned in the report.

Presiding Judge Ahsan Canaan denied the request, which he said was ludicrous, asserting the applicant needed help not from the court but rather from other sources.
The report did not include a response on the outcome from any of the multitude of available spokespeople on behalf of the Lord.
Was this man’s request meant to be taken as comical? Was he serious? What did God do to him that made him get the court involved? These questions were not answered by any of the reports filtering from this one. Somewhere along the way, the man must have faced a deal breaker with God. He did what he thought God wanted, lived the way God instructed, and expected God to bless him. But then he felt cursed and abandoned. It’s easy to end up in that frame of mind. But file a restraining order?

Most likely brought up worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the man probably doesn’t know the Messiah who came from that lineage. He may not realize how loving and good God is for sending His Son to pay the price of our redemption and free us from sin, death, and Hell. After receiving such a marvelous gift, how could any disappointment carry a person so far as to tell God to leave him alone?

But even followers of Christ, who’ve already got more than they will ever deserve, sometimes fall away when they hit a deal-breaking hole in the road. A tragedy shakes them and they assume that if God really was loving and good, He wouldn’t have let it happen. And so they want Him to go away. When it happens, it’s not at all comical, either for the one suffering heartbreak or for fellow believers looking on. There’s nothing simple about it and sometimes it can’t be fixed. Not by talking, or by the passing of time. If the broken person doesn’t accept that he can go on with life—with God—even though he’s broken, then he remains most miserable.

The loving and good thing about God is that He became broken for us. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, the wounds of the crucifixion were still visible. He was who He was—the One who bled and died. It showed then and it shows now. What breaks a person becomes a part of that person’s reality. Even for forever. It’s not because God is mean to us. It’s because we live in a really tough, broken world. But He came to rescue us. We just have to hold onto Him.

A restraining order against God does sound like a joke, though maybe it wasn’t at all funny for the man who took the matter to court. Sometimes nothing seems to make the hurt stop. But there is a way to go on: Petition God to draw closer. That’s something He’s always ready to do.

Life is a Pair of Ducks

Is it still okay to say it’s not okay?

What I mean to say with my duck analogy is, of course, that life is a paradox. The life of a Christian is definitely ducky. We live in perfect peace while fighting against the devil, temptation, and even our own inner selves. We accept that we’re wretched in our lost condition, an enemy of God. And then just like that we’re washed clean and we’re called friends of God. We’re weak, but made strong in Christ. We are most helpless, but never hopeless. We worship a poor carpenter who was born in a barn and died on a cross, knowing that He is King in our hearts and King of the world. We’re destined for Hell, but we’re going to Heaven. We must stand strong against the evil surrounding us. And we must humbly offer Christ to those standing against us.

I saw a post on social media proclaiming that “if Christianity is to survive in America, then it is time we start standing up and speaking out against people and organization that disrespect us!” Now, I may have some friends and followers who liked this post and shared it. I get it—good Christian people are fed up and demanding equal voice. Or at least a little validation that they matter as much as anyone. It’s okay to speak up—we still have that right. But what we get is a “sit down and shut up” attitude from media and popular opinion. More and more, it seems everybody has a right to everything. And we Christians are feeling, what…left out? Do we really expect the approval of this world?

Okay, we should stand up for certain rights. I will stand up for the rights of the smallest human beings, even if they’re not born yet. For the rights of common normalcy, even if being normal is out of fashion. For the rights of freedom, even if it’s edging away. While I’m standing, I’ll consider that for every unborn human in danger, there’s a mother who needs godly council. I’ll keep in mind that normal does not constitute righteousness. I’ll remember that my guarantee of freedom by the rulers of the land may be temporal. My only true freedom comes by the blood of Christ. And so I will stand up for the rights of sinners to hear the message of the Gospel.

But there’s a duck in the pond claiming I have no rights. I’m bought and paid for. I belong to Christ. I’m waiting patiently in a dark place for my Redeemer’s light to break through. I have no fear of being left in darkness, or of not getting my due recognition on Planet Earth. I can’t change anything and I don’t want to gripe about it anymore. I don’t care who uses the bathroom at Target. I’m pretty

sure I don’t have the right to modern, proper, or even private facilities. Most people around the world aren’t so fortunate. It’s just one of many rights we think we possess because we’re Americans.
Ducks Lovers
As soon as I say that, the other duck swims my way, quacking about a serious issue that is not being addressed—this post-modern need for total acceptance of every deviation as normal. No good end will come from regarding each pulse of self-awareness, because that pulse is rebellion against God and it knows no limit. Gender identity has the attention of the media right now, and it’s not foreign to me because it has affected a member of my family. As a believer who must stand for God’s purposeful design in making both male and female, I must also stand for every lost person’s right to hear the truth. Sometimes, it might mean laying down my own rights.

Can I preserve my right to share the truth, without fighting against what the Word of God and my own conscience tells me is wrong? I don’t know. If God encourages me to fight, I’ll fight. If He impresses a silent war of prayer, then I’ll pray. The law can’t govern how or what I pray, or to whom I pray. It can’t stop me from speaking or writing or thinking the truth. It can try. But I belong to a great King. This is His world and He will right the wrong. He’s the only One who can transform a human being. We can’t transform ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Sure, it gets confusing and sometimes I don’t know where I stand, except that I stand on the firm foundation of Christ. So nevermind the ducks. He’s got this.