Tuesday, 14 September 2010

God is getting old.

Father Ignatius’s car had broken down just on the day he had to drive to the City miles away. Somehow he was glad this had happened because in all honesty he hated to drive long distances, especially when it involved negotiating busy traffic in the City.

He phoned his local garage for help and just as luck would have it, or was it a God-incidence, one of the managers was due to travel to the City that very day and he was happy to take Father Ignatius to his Conference and drive him back the same evening.

Oh what a God send Gerald was as he and the priest set off on the long journey. For once Father Ignatius could relax and not worry about the driving.

A few minutes into the journey Gerald started the conversation.

“I was thinking Father,” he said, “do you reckon that God has mellowed with age?”

“What do you mean?” enquired the priest.

“Well …” continued Gerald, “in the Old Testament we see Him full of wrath and anger sending floods everywhere and pestilence on the Egyptians and all sorts of bad things to those who did not tow the line. He behaved like a right monster at times, thumping people on the head if they did not obey Him.

“And now we’re told He’s a loving, caring, forgiving Father who has our best interests at heart. Why do you think He changed strategy? Did His first plans not work?”

Father Ignatius laughed.

“I’m amused that you think I know all about God’s plans,” he said, “the Almighty does not confide in me you know …”

“Maybe not Father! But you must admit it is a total change of tactics from anger and wrath … and you must admit the Bible says in the Old Testament things like vengeance is mine … and I am a jealous God … and all that. And now it’s all gentleness and sweet love … at least that’s what you priests lead us to believe.

“Why doesn’t God thump people on the head and into line these days? The world is going to ruin and His sweet love will get us nowhere …”

The priest laughed again at Gerald’s direct and forthright way of putting things.

“OK … let’s analyze what you’ve been saying …” said Father Ignatius, “on the face of it … it does appear that there’s a great contrast between the description of God in the Old Testament and the description in the New Testament.

“Now what I’m saying here is purely my opinion, you understand. I don’t have a hotline to God and I’m not privy to His strategies and plans …”

Gerald smiled and nodded.

“We tend to see God from our human perspective,” continued the priest, “we see Him with human understanding and we attribute to Him human qualities, plans, strategies, emotions and so on.

“But God is God. And man is man. We cannot possibly understand Him from our viewpoint, nor should we attempt to do so.

“Now it could well be … and this is me guessing here you understand Gerald … it could well be that the people at the time of the Old Testament were accustomed to being led … being guided … and told what to do.

“Can you imagine for instance one man … Moses … guiding a multitude of people out of Egypt, promising them a better life elsewhere, and going round in circles in the desert for forty years?

"This wouldn't happen today.

“In modern times people would have set up committees to discuss the project, appointed several managers to chair sub-committees and devised multiple budgetary plans and operational strategies … all before their poor overworked wives had time to pack the luggage and prepare the kids to leave Cairo.

“Yet in the Old Testament one man said let’s go … and they all went.

“True … they argued and rebelled along the way … and Moses dealt with it in a forthright manner as you advocate …”

Gerald laughed.

“So it could well be that God treated people in the Old Testament days the way they expected to be lead and the way they understood,” said Father Ignatius, “With firmness where necessary … yet at all times with fairness and compassion.

“This is only my opinion … as I said.

“And it could be that in His own time, according to His will, God decided to send Jesus to us in human form to teach us … to show us God’s infinite love, and to forgive and redeem us through His death and Resurrection.

“Jesus in human form had to be kind, and gentle and compassionate to portray God’s infinite love. And He taught us in the Lord’s Prayer about a loving Father caring for His children and always ready to provide for them.

"It would have been pointless to have a ruthless commanding Jesus forcing people to obey Him. This does not depict God's love for us, which is so infinite, that He gave up His own Son to die for us.

“Hence the contrast between the Old and New Testaments …”

At this point a huge truck overtook their car and moved back into lane so close that Gerald had to swerve sharply in order to avoid a collision.

“Stupid idiot …” shouted Gerald, and then muttered something else unrepeatable under his breath.

After a moment or two as the two men calmed down a little Gerald continued, “There are times Father, when I wish God would deal with people the old fashioned Old Testament way!”

Father Ignatius said nothing but prayed silently that God may forgive Gerald for his immediate reaction under pressure.

14 comments:

  1. Interesting. The ending brought a smile.

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  2. The touches of humor in your stories always make me laugh, Victor! Father Ignatius' explanation makes good sense to me :) Thank you for another great story.

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  3. This post really made me think. It's a tough question that Gerald asked, and Fr. Ignatius answered it well.

    Thank you so much for your comments on my blog. You didn't upset Gentle at all-quite the contrary. Tears are a good thing!

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  4. This story reminds me of an old brother religious I lived with. He would spend his afternoons by the window in the library reading his bible and he would invariably come to the dinner table with the same question about the difference between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. I wish I had been as eloquent as Fr. Ignatius. I think my response was, "just eat your dinner brother."

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  5. Hi Elizabeth, Mary, Colleen, Sarah and Redemptorist Preacher,

    Thank you all so much for your encouragement and for taking the time to write in. I much appreciate your comments and your compaby here.

    Sarah, I'm so glad that Gentle is OK. I am praying for her.

    Redemptorist Preacher, "Just eat your dinner" is as good a phrase as any. Many a parent have used it when they did not know the answers to their children's unterminable questions. I know I did often. Especially when the questions start with " Why ..."

    God bless you all and thanx for your visits.

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  6. Hello Victor, As usually you have every one thinking again...Good on you.
    I suppose we all see God differently...one thing is good...there is no time in Heaven..
    And then Heaven is another wonder, isn't it...
    God is so good to give us an imagination..
    Bless you. Crystal Mary.

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  7. A reflection with which I can identify. Nearly was run off the road the other day on my way home from The Woods. Gerald is not the only one who needs prayers. Safe and sound am I, but still a bit angry! All is well! No damage to the car, only to my psyche! Wishing you well! Cathy

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  8. Funny... I wondered about that several years ago. I think God must have a wonderful sense of humor... and honestly I could use a good thump every and then.

    But truly, God gave us the greatest gift, and how can we not love Him enough to want to serve Him by being faithful, loving, forgiving, caring, giving children of God?

    I loved this, Victor... Gerald showed the human side of us. The side that asks questions, and needs to stop cursing and needs prayer. The side of us that needs answers and is seeking truth in his/her own way.

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  9. Hello Crystal Mary, Cathy and Joey.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your accident Cathy. Praise the Lord that you are unhurt. I pray that you're soon over that bad experience.

    Yes we all see God in our own way and try to question and seek answers and explanations. I sometimes think that perhaps He doesn't want us to question ... He just wishes we could trust Him like a child trusts his parents.

    God bless you Crystal Mary, Cathy and Joey.

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  10. This is amusing. I like how you can get points across so entertainingly and deal with questions everyone has. I pray that I will see the world and those in it as God sees it, not as I imagine He sees it.

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  11. Hi Barb,

    Thanx for your kind compliments ... I normally have so many questions to ask that I dread the Almighty losing patience with me and thumping me on the head.

    God bless.

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  12. That was a good story. The ending took me by surprise though. I was expecting some catastophic heavenly chastisement, I guess!

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  13. Hello Paramedicgirl,

    I'm so pleased you enjoyed this story. Thanx for writing in to tell me about it. There are many other Fr Ignatius stories here (click the link at the end of my post) as well as the FREE E Book "Golden Drops" on the right of this post.

    God bless.

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I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

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