I was struck by something while reading in I/II Kings. You know that in every story you have the protagonist – the hero, the person(s) you identify and sympathize with. The antagonist is the one(s) who opposes the protagonist and does bad things – the villain. For those of you who’ve read the Book of Kings, it is very short on heroes, and very high on villains. It’s very depressing. Israel is divided into two kingdoms, evil reigns, kings follow injustice and evil, foreign powers keep attacking and oppressing the Isrealites, the men of God are persecuted, and the population has forgotten God to follow perversity and idols. The characters are mostly either bad guys or really bad guys. The good guys are few and far between, and prone to failure themselves.
What surprises me throughout is that God frequently helps wicked Israelite kings for the sake of His own Name. He helped Ahab win military victories over the Arameans because they were diminishing the God of Israel, so that they will know that He is who He is (1Ki 20). He helped Israel yet again under the wicked Jeroboam II because He saw all their afflictions and desired to show mercy (2Ki 14).
It struck me that the hero of this story isn’t Elijah, Elisha, and the other men of God in these stories. God is the hero. The prophets are just sidekicks. But God is the one doing the action, and powerfully working despite the vicious sins and failures of His people. He is the one who’s honor is on the line, who shows mercy and delivers people from trouble, causes kingdoms to rise and fall, and meets out justice to the wicked. God coolly deals with rebellious humanity with their salvation and His glory in mind, in total control of the situation.
God is the hero of your story too. Your life story isn’t about you. God is the one who gives your life significance, who delivers you out of trouble, forgives your sins, and befriends you in the best and worst of times of your life. By faith in Christ, all of this is granted to us. But too often we don’t live like this. Our life story was ordained by God, but we live as though it’s all about us. If that isn’t ridiculous I don’t know what is. Recalibration is necessary. Let’s recognize God as the champion — then our story will go as it’s supposed to go.
It has been a week now since I had a car accident. It was my first one and kind of a scare, so it has made me think a lot, mostly revolving around two things:
My life is fragile.
My Lord is a good and merciful God.
I was on my way to work last Wednesday on a back-road in Valley Center. The road was wet from a drizzle, which we hadn’t had in a while so the road was slippery from the oil. Going around a curve I slid and lost control of the car. The car skidded sideways into a ditch and somehow flipped over on end and crashed onto a chain-link fence. I climbed out of the car from the back door. I looked at my poor car, nosed in the dirt and lying on a fence with the engine idling (I was coasting) and ran up to a nearby house to call my dad who lived about five miles away. My injuries were minimal, just a cut on my face and a jammed finger (thought I had back and neck pain later). One of my dad’s neighbors, “Bill” happened to drive by and stopped to help, and another gentleman who lived nearby happened to have a backhoe and chains and pulled the car out. It was beat-up, but it still runs and drives. Even all the headlights work even though it nosed into the ground. The door has since been repaired. Other repairs are on hold for now.
God totally saved my life. In the moment I thought I was gonna die and wrap around an oak tree or something. So much could have gone wrong. One of my back-doors doesn’t open – I could have flipped on the other side, so I’d be trapped in there. I could have hit another car. I could have run into a big oak tree nearby. I could have not crashed over the oak saplings that slowed the car down before hitting the fence. The car could have blown up or totaled. I could have died or been seriously injured.
The first self-aware/God-aware thought I had was that God could have killed me – but He didn’t. Through the event itself, God spoke. He proved to me He is not only able to save my life – but does. He’s letting me live on this earth a little longer, until whatever day He plans that I see Him face-to-face. It may sound crazy, but it encouraged me, showing that God must want me alive for some purpose, for further service. My feelings are with the Apostle Paul, who wrote in Philippians 1:21-24
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.