God’s Wrath Dealt on the Apostate Christian
This weekend my wife and I finally finished moving into our new house. As with any hectic real-estate transaction, this one had its share of tense moments and close calls. Purchasing a new house is always a risky venture. Despite it all, I was surprised at how smoothly our purchase went, and how easily we could have lost everything.
As a Christian, I would have been praying vigorously for God’s guiding hand. Before the purchase began, I would have brought my desire to purchase a new house to the foot of the alter. I would have asked God if moving was indeed in his Will – then I would have waited for an answer.
Has any Christian, even the most devout, ever figured out exactly how something like this is done? How does a Christian find the Will of God? How does one determine if God wants these things to be done? I figured, like most Christians, that if I felt that tugging in my heart directing me to move, and if the transaction went relatively smoothly, that God was guiding everything, and thus was in his Will. If God was throwing too many obsticles into the transaction, perhaps it was not in his will? Maybe? I have heard many sermons which gave directions on how this is done, and they all boil down to doing exactly what is preached AGAINST in other sermons – “Follow your Heart”. Although it is never stated that way, that is ultimately what is done. Dividing the human from the supposedly Divine is such a subjective exercise, even to the devout Christian, that the Heart’s desire is nearly always followed in the end, and is just interpreted as being Divine.
As a Christian, I would have had trouble figuring if that tugging in my heart was my own fleshly desires for the purchase, or God gently moving me. Now as an ex-Christian, I realize that the gentle tugging in our hearts is nothing more than our own desires – or our own convictions which I intpreted to be from God. In the end, Christians and non-Christians alike do what is best in their own best judgement. It is just that Christians think their judgement is directed by God.
I remember many years ago, when I worked as a dishwasher. A bicycle to get me to and from work was a major purchase for me back then, and I prayed fervently, asking if purchasing this bike with God’s money (everything I had belonged to God) was in his Will. Too many cold mornings sitting at the bus stop must have convinced me that it was, because I spent $150 dollars on a brand spanking new one. I remember thanking God for this new bicycle, and I promised to use it to bring glory to his Kingdom. Whatever that meant.
Purchasing this house was the biggest financial transaction of my life – and I did not once pray for Divine guidance. I did not ask God if it was in his Will, even though I felt that push and pull in my heart just as if I had asked him. I did not ask God to select a house for us, even though we found our house on the very first day of looking! I did not ask God for financial help which was surely going to be needed. But with a little scrimping, saving and budgeting, our finances are fine. I did not ask God to work out the tight schedules of everyone involved so that accomplishing everything in time was like threading a needle. But coincidentally, everything worked out according to schedule, even though there were some pretty hairly moments. I did not ask God to help us find adaquate renters for our old house – but somehow they turned up just when they needed to.
We really did find this house on the first day of looking. Of course we looked at other homes for months afterward, but always came back to this house. As a Christian, I would have interpreted that as evidence of God’s Hand guiding every step of the process. It would have seemed miraculous considering the months of viewing and inspecting most people do before finding an adaquate house.
But I did not ask God for help. I did not ask God for his Will. I did not ask for God’s permission. And I am not thanking God for this house. And despite God’s promises to punish the apostate believer, to bring me down low so that he will be exaulted, no such thing is occuring. Life continues on without God. Something good just happened in my life. I know that bad things will happen soon. Followed by more good things. Then maybe something bad after that. I realize now that those ebbs and flows have nothing to do with God’s direction, guidance, reward or chastisment. It is just the cycle of life – and it flows the same, whether you think God is there or not.