Someone in pastor Erwin MacManess’ church posed a powerful question. It went something like this: “If our eternal destiny rests on believing on Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, why doesn’t He reveal Himself more clearly?”
It’s not a dumb question. Hell is a horrible place and we want to avoid it at all costs. If believing in Jesus is the key to heaven why doesn’t He let Himself be seen more easily?
I mean, why doesn’t He do a PowerPoint presentation of Himself on the side of Mount Kilimanjaro or an appearance on the Jay Leno show?
He could at least show up on the CBS evening news and let Katie Couric interview Him. Then everyone would believe. Right?
My favorite comic strip character, Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs) often goes into flights of fantasy and sees himself as a spaceman or a time traveler or whatever. Sometimes I’m a bit like him. Come with me a minute …
The king proudly surveyed the little group in front of him. The harried housewife, the distracted businessman, the fun-seeking teenager, the rickety grandfather, and the attentive child waited.
A giant door stood just behind the monarch. “I’ve invited you all here for a reason,” he said, adjusting the gold crown which had slipped forward a bit on his forehead. “I wanted to show you all something that very few people ever see.”
He hesitated, looking to see what effect his statement made on them. The businessman glanced at his watch; the housewife looked off into the distance somewhere over the king’s shoulder; the teenager seemed to be having a problem hearing him because his ipod was turned up too loud; the grandpa just kind of groaned and fished in his pocket seeking a box of pills.
The child stared at the sovereign in eager anticipation.
The king seemed disappointed that the others weren’t more excited. He went to the giant door, unlocked it, and with some difficulty pushed the heavy oaken door open.
Beyond it lay incredible riches. “Come look!” the eager monarch invited. “Excuse me, Mr. King,” the housewife piped up. “I’ve gotta run. My kids get out of school in an hour then I’ve got to run them to ballet practice, and I’ve got some important shopping to do. Catch you another time, okay?” With that she left.
“Me too,” seconded the businessman. “Hey, I’m sure whatever is beyond that door must be great but I’ve got so much paper work, I’ve got to get at it. Otherwise, I’ll be at the office until midnight. My wife is already on my back because I don’t spend enough time with her and the kids.”
The teenager didn’t say anything. He just ambled away, eyes closed, singing to himself. Occasionally, he did a little dance and jumped in the air like a clumsy Michael Jackson. The pappy didn’t seem that interested either. He was preoccupied trying to pry the childproof cap off his pill bottle.
Tears appeared in the corners of the king’s eyes.
But one person stayed. The little girl walked forward hesitantly, her braided black hair shining in the light pouring through the opening of the door. “Can I look?” she asked with desire.
“You sure can! Come!” The great man took her brown hand and advanced to the doorway. The youngster cried with delight. “Oh! But I’ve never seen anything like this.” Her eyes widened as she beheld treasures sparking in an eternal sunshine. Everywhere, heaps of coins lay piled like golden hills. She saw trees made of diamonds and paths paved with rubies. Nearby, a crystal stream gurgled happily towards a far off lake.
All around treasures beyond description waited. “And best of all, it’s yours,” the king smiled. “All yours.”
“This is Calvin to Hobbs. Hang on old buddy because we’re gonna land.”
Question. In the little reverie above, was the problem that the king didn’t reveal his riches, or was the problem that the people didn’t care to see what he was showing?
I’ve come to the conclusion that God is continually revealing Himself in His Son Jesus—He’s screaming His truth—and most people aren’t interested in seeing.
Every wonder why Jesus made silly statements like, “He who has ears, let him hear,”? It’s not a matter of God revealing Himself—He does it constantly. It’s a matter of having a heart that cares enough to look, ears that are attuned to him so they can listen.
Not hearing is a horrible thing but so many do it willfully. Why? Because hearing and seeing crimps their style.
“But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
“So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!” (Roman 1: 18-25, The Message).
The question isn’t, “Why doesn’t God reveal Himself more clearly?’ but more accurately, “What don’t men respond to the treasure revealed right in front of their eyes?”
I used to pray often, “Lord, manifest Yourself to me more and more.” Now, I’m praying, “Lord, open my eyes so that I can see more of the revelation that’s already there, in front of my eyes.”