Last week in my column I introduced you to Linda and Bob (not their real names). Our discussion has been on the subject of pain and suffering.
In that column I introduced you to the fact that many who use the problem of pain and suffering actually do so not from an intellectual position but from a moral position.
Such was the case with Linda. Confronted with the fact that Bob was not a good moral choice if she hoped to maintain an open, growing relationship with God, Linda let me know in no uncertain terms that Bob was her choice and both God and I could simply get out of her life.Let me pause here before I continue my account of this situation because I know that some of you are just as upset as Linda was with me. You are thinking, "How dare he condemn poor Bob? Who is he to say what Bob was doing was wrong or not?"
I assure you, I am not the one condemning Bob's behavior. However, like the illustration of the child who wants to play on a busy street, I was simply pointing out the danger signs based upon my belief in a Creator who has set the boundaries of right and wrong behavior.
Many who reject God using the problem of pain as their reason, really are rejecting Him because they have chosen a moral course of action they know in their hearts to be wrong. Rather than admit the real reason for their rejection, they choose instead to manufacture what they see as a plausible reason that allows them their rejection.
A year after Linda told me she never wanted to see me again, I was sitting in a meeting at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. It was Linda and she was motioning to me to come talk to her in the hallway.
Slipping from my chair, and entering the hall, I knew there was a problem. Linda was in tears. She blurted out as soon as she saw me, "I'm pregnant! I don't know what to do. My mother and father have thrown me out of the house."
We talked. I got the story from Linda who in the process told me she was thinking about marrying Bob. Without going into the psychological, practical and spiritual reasons, I advised against it, saying simply, "Linda, you've made one mistake, don't compound it now. Please listen to me and to your parents."
She responded simply (and I believe with a noticeable sadness and recognition of what she was about to do was not right), she simply shook her head and said, "No. I love him. I know he can change!" And she turned and walked away.
Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby boy. Two weeks after that Bob deserted them both. Linda could not handle the rejection, she ended up in an insane asylum and her son had to be put up for adoption. That was the last I ever heard of Linda and Bob.
All of this to say, at the point of no return, Linda had decided that she knew better than God what was morally good and right for her. You may not agree with God's moral law. Most today don't.
My experience, however, from being there to pick up the pieces when I am granted that opportunity is that no one successfully breaks God's moral law; instead they find themselves broken by actions. Like Linda, instead of being willing to admit their mistakes, they insist and persist in pursuing a course of action that they instinctively know is wrong.
Instead of being willing to change course, they charge full speed ahead, attempting to ease their guilty consciences by claiming there is no God, rather than coming to Him and discovering His full pardon and acceptance.
May I ask you, what course will you chose to follow?
John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org.