This weeks lesson begins with Jeremiah crying to God, "Why do things go well for the sinners?" a question which many of us have from time to time, especially in these days when we look at Bernie Maydoff or at Allen Sanford and ask why they did so well. Truth is, in the long run they did not do so well and were finally caught. And what does not get caught by man, will be caught by God.
Truth is what God throws at us in life is exactly what we need to develop our characters. When we rise again at the time of the resurrection, God wants us to be perfect and he sends the appropriate training material our way, whether we are saint or sinner, and he fully desires that all come to him. Both Maydoff and Stanford were or will be given the opportunity to come to know Jesus, and their experiences will have helped to pave the way for them to know and serve him, if they accept him as Lord.
God in the same way prepares us for this life here on earth. As I was growing up, it was amazing the various ways I was prepared for my life as a missionary. Canoeing, and compass skills in Boy Scouts were absolutely necessary to life as a missionary on the Miskito Coast, as was the fact that I had studied languages with case endings, giving me a tremendous advantage in learing Miskito, one that English and Spanish speakers do not have. Mechanical skills and many other things that I had learned at an earlier time all were excellent in helping me to be prepared to be a missionary. AS God prepared me for that time in my life, he prepares each of us who love him, and who will love him for the resurrection.
God does give him an answer, which may sound strange. "How will you run against horses if you cannot run against men?" which is God's way of saying here, we are not involved in a fight against men, but in a fight against spiritual forces that are much stronger than us. We can only battle these spiritual forces when we are filled with God's Holy Spirit.
God also makes a promise. Those nations who surround Israel, will be restored if they come to know God. This problem has been partially completed at this time, and will be completed fully at some time in the future. But now we can look at the countries surrounding Israel. The Coptic Christians who speak the language of the Pharaohs are 10% of the population. The Maronite Christians were around 40% of the population of Lebanon. There are still Assyrian and Persian Christians who are the descendants of those countries which persecuted Israel. They are still with us, and while they are moving out of their native lands they show no signs of disappearing.
God kept his promises to them. He too will keep his promises to us, and will use life to make us the best people he can, if we will only let him.
Mar Michael Abportus, OSL
Bishop of La Porte,