Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Power of Paradox

I just received an email from a remarkable man named Jim Harrell http://www.jamesmharrellfoundation.org/. Jim has ALS and he, like me, feels that he is BLESSED to have ALS! To the world, we are fools. How could we be blessed with this illness?

Not coincidentally (I don't believe in coincidences), Jim contacte me via Randy Alcorn. Randy has written a phenomenal book simply entitled "Heaven" which I am studying with my church small group. I contacted Randy to get recommendations on books on Heaven for Christopher (Randy has written several children's books on Heaven as well and has a ministry called Eternal Perspective Ministries).

Jim and I are blessed by ALS. We are loosing our lives, but we are gaining our SOULS! Matthew 10:39 says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Did you know that for every American who believes he's going to Hell, there are 120 who believe they are going to Heaven*? A legitimate question is "Why do you think that?". Is Heaven our default destination? The Bible says is is NOT. Matthew 7:13-14 says: "13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Romans 3:23-24 says, "23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

Do you know where YOU'RE going? I do. C. S. Lewis wrote:
"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." --A Grief Observed

Well, guess what? Being human is 100% fatal. I only know in advance that I may not live as long as you think you will. Think about it. The truth in the paradox....."Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Michael Card sings a song called "God's Own Fool"

The lyrics follow:

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life
As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to men
He must have seemed out of His mind
For even His family said He was mad
And the priests said a demon's to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong

And so we follow God's own fool
For only the foolish can tell-
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well
So come lose your life for a carpenter's son
For a madman who died for a dream
And you'll have the faith
His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to say you must know
Have the courage to say I believe
For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable,
And come be a fool as well

* K.Connie Kang, "Nest Stop, the Pearly Gates...or Hell?" Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2003