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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Power v. Pardon!

I have just looked at some amazing photographs of butterflies and some other insects, on Facebook.   The colours; the designs; in one case, the transparency; of those little creatures is beyond verbal description.  When we look at the world of nature is is, indeed, full of wise design.  The bird is a clever architect; the beaver a skilful builder of dams; the silkworm is a superb weaver; and even the spider is a remarkable net-maker!  There are also, in the natural world, many intricate checks and balances that speak of a great, directing, Intelligence.

But not only is there great beauty, and order in the world that we experience, there is also great power.  The earth quakes on the ocean bed - and a might tsunami surges towards land where it destroys all in its path, for sometimes miles inland.  A tornado rips through a town, and leaves only havoc in its wake.  Wind and wave have created many strange formations in the rocks that are all over the planet.

Of course, we may also look out from Earth, and marvel at the night sky - with its thousands of stars visible to the naked eye; and millions more that require optical assistance in the form of great telescopes.  We are informed of the mind-blowing distances between these stars, and from the Earth - distances so vast that they are measured, not in miles, or nautical miles, or kilometres, but in "light years".  A light-year, of course, is the distance that light travels in one earth year - at a speed of more than 186,000 earth miles every second!  That gives us a measurement of almost six trillion miles!

However, while God's grandeur, knowledge, and superior mind are displayed in the wonders of His creation, they reveal neither His heart nor His full personality - nor do they tell mere mortals like you and me, how we may ever make contact with such an all-powerful Being!  Nature, in all of its vastness, and beauty, and power says nothing about the need of sinners such as you and me - pardon; forgiveness; the removal of guilt.

I have a quotation in an old set of Daily Bible Reading Notes that reads: "Not a whisper of forgiveness comes to us from the blue heavens above us, or from any of the works of the Almighty around us.  His infinite, all-pervading Spirit cannot be comprehended.  The thought of this powerful Being brings fear to our hearts.  But when God comes near in the Person of the perfect Man, speaking of love, pardon, and adoption into His family, then the guilty dread flees away, and the love which casts out fear takes its place.  Now this is what we see in Jesus Christ - God manifested in the flesh." (Robert Boyd; emphasis added).

"Can't I worship God in the green fields, or on the rolling waves, or in the grandeur of the mountains?", someone might ask.  I suppose that you can - but it is unlikely that you will!  For centuries, the inhabitants of parts of the African continent sat at cannibalistic feasts surrounded by natural scenery that surpasses most of what you and I regularly experience, in beauty and in grandeur - yet nature, in all of its splendour did not lead them to the true God, the Creator, and Sustainer, of all that exists; the One Who, in the Persona (not a misprint - see my book on "Great Words", the chapter on The Trinity!) of the Son, came into this world, this planet Earth, this mere speck in the vastness of the universe, to die on a cross so that those who place their trust fully, and unreservedly, in Him, might be saved.  As I shared, yesterday morning, with some friends, "He made the Son of His love to be the object of His wrath, so that the objects of His wrath might become the sons of His love!"

Nature speaks of power; but it never speaks of pardon.  If you would know that forgiveness, you must come to Him, Who alone can meet your deepest need.

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