Friday, October 7, 2016

Can God Handle This? by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Can God Handle This?

Life on this earth is messy and fraught with changes in plans, disappointed expectations, relationships that can’t be fixed, and emotional upheaval. Our daily lives show this plain and simple. If we didn’t already know it, our writerly lives reinforce the lesson. These pressures inspired me to focus on something very precious.

Consider Jesus’ intentionality and orchestration as he obtained our salvation. Early in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tipped the first domino. As he set his plan into motion, his love for us shone through.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter confessed him as the Christ, the predicted Messiah, but then Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22 ESV).

Jesus foretold his death for the first time. The domino cascade began. The Master Plan had been verbally revealed. What must they have thought? What did this even mean? They had expected a conquering King who would free them from Roman oppression.

Jesus’ next recorded statement was even more revelatory: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24 ESV).

Doubtless, his disciples thought the cross metaphor gruesome. People carrying crosses stumbled to their deaths, losing themselves entirely. Yet Jesus gently prepared them. He knew exactly how he would die, whereas they did not.

Eight days later the transfiguration occurred, giving a foretaste of his second coming, not this first one. Moses and Elijah appeared, and Jesus was glorified. Together they spoke of Jesus’ “departure” and all he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.

The disciples were rocked! All around them miracles were occurring, evil spirits were cast out, crowds were gathering. They were “astonished at the majesty of God” (Luke 9:43 ESV), and then Jesus again made his plan clear:

“But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men’” (Luke 9:43-44 ESV).

Imagine their spiritual and emotional whiplash. He kept making these disturbing statements. They didn’t understand. They were afraid to ask. They argued over who would be greatest in spite of his command that they listen. They couldn’t comprehend, because they sought status in the kingdom they expected him to establish.

Expectations can blind us. Jesus clearly perceived the brokenness and the depravity of the human heart within his disciples. Therefore, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 ESV).

Jesus’ mental determination was steadfast and firm. He knew we needed to be redeemed. This was his purpose in coming, his plan from all eternity.

He coordinated human history to arrive at that moment, even allowing the evil invention of crucifixion, the cruelest form of torture ever devised. And, of course, he chose to die in that way. Jesus was entirely in control of this event and its outcome. His Spirit had even previously inspired it to be written (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53).

Consider the love that goes into coordinating the redemption of humankind. Consider the attention to detail over the course of millennia. Consider his knowledge of the selfishness of his followers and yet his gentle preparation, even as he carried out his plan and demolished their expectations. Consider that he intentionally sought to redeem you and me, that he considered us to be his prize, that he already knew our names, and that we are written in his book.

Do you think we can release our current messes, family crises, writing projects, and disappointed hopes into the hands of Someone who loves us this much?

Do you think that a God who loves like this can handle it?

Love takes action: The Creator God establishes the cosmos and shapes a man. Adam rises from the dust. Envious, the powerful angel Lucifer despises him. Oblivious to the threat, Adam is captivated by his strong, intuitive wife Eve. In the Garden of Eden, they enjoy abundant food, gorgeous vistas, and intriguing challenges, including their budding love and passion. They have it all!

But Lucifer’s deceptive brilliance tricks them into disobeying God. They eat the one forbidden fruit. Their innocence is shattered. Their unity with one another and with God is destroyed. Death will follow. Lucifer’s jealousy threatens mankind’s tenuous beginning. But God is merciful. What astonishing promise does He make? How will Adam and Eve survive—broken, shattered, and separated from God?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in a storytelling family. There her roots were sunk. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as He makes beauty from ashes. Fallen is her second novel; Refuge, the sequel, is her first. Melinda shepherds women in prison ministry and writes inspirational material at  With her family she is involved with Mission India/RIMI, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students.