By Todd Hill
Anthony recently sent out a video to the church discussing how we can know the difference between issues that are Conviction level (things to die for), Persuasion level (things to divide for), and Opinion level (things to debate and decide on). You can find the video here. As we wrestled as a staff with the nuances in determining which category to place various topics in, I found myself pondering the question, “Why does God make this so difficult?” Doesn’t it seem like he should just make things super clear so that all Christians could simply have the right answer and believe the same thing? Doesn’t it?
I have been reading the story of the Exodus lately. A fascinating story I would recommend highly. I noticed right away that God was calling Moses to a really difficult task. In Exodus 3:10 God extends a simple invitation: “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” It hit me that God made this enormous, fearful, life-altering request sound so simple. “Come, I will send you.”
But to make things worse, God tells Moses that he is going to harden Pharaoh’s heart. And he does—over and over. I will admit that feels confusing to me. Why is God going to harden his heart? Doesn’t it seem like God should just make things simple? Why all the theatrics of Pharaoh letting them go and then telling them no? Exodus 14:4 provides a summary. It says,” And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart … and I will get glory … and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.”
It appears that God invites Moses to do this scary thing and even makes it seem impossible along the way as he hardens Pharaoh’s heart because he wants to get glory and so that the world knows that he is the LORD.
This brings me back to my reflections about why God doesn’t make things more clear so that all Christians can simply believe the right thing together. Wouldn’t it be easier if we all believed the same thing about politics? About masks? About vaccines? While it appears that it would be much easier, I wonder what gets God more glory? Maybe it gets God more glory when his people wrestle and work really hard at understanding what is right, but then ultimately choose to humbly worship and serve side by side even though they disagree on a number of issues? Maybe the observing world might know that God is the LORD more readily when they observe Christ followers humbly laying down their right to be right and loving one another when they disagree on persuasion and opinion level issues.
I will admit that I still wish God would make decisions in a pandemic and the challenges of navigating the political and social issues of our day much more simple and clear. However, I do want him to get glory. And I would love for him to get glory and for the watching world to know that he is the LORD in ways that would not have happened if we had not had to stumble through these difficult days. That seems more important than things being simple and easy.