Yeomen Press has published my newest book: Just Christians.
Can we not be just Christians? With unity as one of Jesus’ most critical messages, can we not simply abandon man-made doctrines and practices and just follow the simple New Testament teaching?
Do we have to use our feelings as our guide? Do we have to do what we have done all our lives? Do we have to “go to the church that meets our needs”?
Can we not surrender what we want for what God wants?
We don’t say we are better. We don’t say others are not good people. We’re just trying to be Christians.
We’re just Christians following just the Bible. We’re just sinners just forgiven.
Let’s not make it too hard or too simple. Let’s just do what it says.
We’re just strange people trying to enter the narrow gate and walk the narrow road.
Let’s do it out of love for each other and love for Jesus.
I am giving you a new command: Love one another. Love one another in the same way I have loved you. If you love one another you will prove to everyone that you are my disciples.
– John 13:34,35 (FBV)
There are some things that we know. We know some with our minds, and we know some with our hearts.
Intellectually we know that Amy Schaefer Carnagey has been allowed to receive the reward we all strive for; to reach the destination we all hope to attain.
I don’t ask the question that is common at times such as this. I don’t wonder “Why?” I know why. Suffering and death are the result of sin in the world. God created a perfect world. We messed it up. As we know from Jesus’ statement in John 9:3, it’s not that Amy was punished for her sin or the sin of someone close to her. Even though the blood of Jesus frees us from the spiritual consequence of sin, the existence of sin in the world still impacts everyone. Jesus does add, though, that the man in John 9 is suffering so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Some people live to be 100 and still don’t demonstrate the works of God as powerfully as Amy has. Many people live long lives without impacting as many souls as Amy has.
The impact of sin means two things to me. It makes me really mad at sin. Contrary to what our society might believe, sin is not glamorous. Sin is not cute. Sin is not politically correct. Sin kills people when they don’t deserve it. The second thing it does is motivate me to live a better life. If the effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much, I feel I am letting others down when my sins weaken my prayers.
Thinking from the heart, though, I prayed Tuesday morning (before I heard the news) that God would heal Amy. It was obvious that medicine could not do it. I instructed God that this would be a good opportunity to demonstrate His awesome power to people around the world. For some reason, God does not always do things my way. He always listens, but He has His own way of doing things.
And, thinking from the heart, I’m not sure any of these things really matter right now. It’s not that Amy’s family members aren’t full of faith. It’s just that knowing something with the mind doesn’t seem to mean much at times such as this.
Fortunately, God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). He can do what none of the rest of us can. That passage also says God comforts people so they can comfort others. For a reason that only He knows, God has chosen Amy’s family as special comforters for others who will be suffering in the future. He saves the hardest tasks for the best.
Luke, girls, Mel, Doris, Greg and Amber, I don’t really know what to say. All I know is that we love you.