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March 29, 2011

God Is Not Snarky

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

(Reposted from reviovine.com)

When I was at Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer hospital last week, someone figured out from my outfit that I was a clergy person. He was a cancer patient awaiting his chemotherapy treatment and knowing that he had time to waste, he thought it would be fun to ask this clergy person a question.

“Is God snarky or just is out to have some fun at our expense?”

First of all, being “snarky” is not one of the qualities of God. I have yet to find the term “testy” to describe the Triune God in the Athanasian Creed or in any writing of Martin Luther. Now, I haven’t read everything Luther has written, so I could have missed an appearance of the word “snarky,” but I don’t think so.

Second, if God wanted to have fun at our expense, I explained, He would have us all dress up like clowns or members of the New York Islanders in order to have a good laugh. But since we’re all not wearing a big red nose or those Gorton’s Fisherman uniforms popularized by the Islanders a few years back, I would say that God is not having much fun.

The gentleman was in the middle of a lengthy cancer battle and it appeared to me he was just trying to lay the blame for his disease on God. I told him that I could do the same thing; having an aggressive cancer at age 39, facing a significant bout with chemotherapy and radiation, and the outside possibility that the cancer could spread even after all that treatment, I could easily get on my knees and shake my fist at God the Father.

But I haven’t.

And I won’t.

It is not God’s fault that I or anyone else gets cancer. God loves each of beyond any measure, so it would be inconsistent of that love to give us a disease that can kill. Instead, because of our fallen world, our bodies aren’t perfect and yes, they get sick. And when we get sick, our God is there for us, to hear our cries, and to love us.

And to show His love, He sent His Son to die on our behalf to pay our sinful failure debt to Him, so that by faith alone, when our earthly life comes to a close, when He calls to us, we go to Him.

For all time.

For eternity.

To live with Him in bodies that will never get sick again and never have to get sick from chemicals pumped into our veins to kill a dreaded disease.

Whatever happens to me, I told this man, I know God’s will be done in my life. My confidence in my God, in my Savior, in my Sanctifier is not shakable. Through it all, I know He loves me. And yes, I love Him for all that He’s done for this fallen, broken down pastor.

 

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