A Letter at Christmas Time to God.
By Gary Piper
Authors Note: What you are about to read is a product of my own frustration with the way our world is becoming. I have written it in two parts first Crusty’s letter to God then God’s letter to Crusty. I believe in the reality of both parts but I hold tightly on to God’s letter to Crusty. —Gary
“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”
It’s me, Crusty the Christian with Christmas fast approaching I have a few things on my mind I’d like to get off my chest so please forgive me if I am speaking out of turn or if I sound disrespectful but I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings filtering though my simple brain and I know you can help me sort them out. Besides I think your shoulders are broad enough to read what I have to say without condemning me for feeling the way I do.
God, many thousands of years ago the prophet Habakkuk frustrated by the conditions in the world in which he lived prayed, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2–4, NLT)
I don’t need to tell you but thousands of years later Habakkuk’s words are just as relevant as they were when he first spoke them. The lives of your people are being “beat down” by a monster that goes by the name of Human Greed – the lust for power – wealth – possessions. And it’s world wide, God – world wide!
And, Lord those thousands of years ago you answered his prayer. “The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands. They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like. Their horses are swifter than cheetahs and fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their charioteers charge from far away. Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey. “On they come, all bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their fortresses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”” (Habakkuk 1:5–11, NLT)
With all due respect God you need to hear those words restated in this dispensation of time and at the same time we need to see the unleashed power of your Holy Spirit to Confront, Convict, Convert, and Change the lives of those who have taken upon themselves the name Human Greed.
At one time God I thought I was angry with you because it seems as if you stand next to us and remain silent. Then I realized I wasn’t angry at all I was hurting deep inside because not only my loved ones but millions of others are suffering needlessly because you have the power and wisdom to be an Equalizer for them and you remain silent.
As I think about the oppression millions and millions of people are living under it’s like the Egypt thing all over again. Here’s how it is described in the bible. “So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.” (Exodus 1:13–14, NLT)
God, it’s like history repeating itself in 2016. Different people. Different times. Different materials. Same situation – people oppressed by the lust for greed, laziness, and fear!
Somewhere in this world parents stand helplessly by and watch as their children ravished by Human Greed die of malnutrition. Somewhere in this world tyrants filled with Human Greed steal young children and make them work in sweat shops as slaves. Somewhere in this country a retail company will sell at a tremendous profit those things made by the feeble and starving hands of children who will never grow old. Somewhere in this world innocent persons will become victims of Human Greed bent on annihilating there ethnicity from the earth. Somewhere in this country an innocent person will come between warring drug dealers and will lose their life. Somewhere in this world someone will consider stealing food in order to feed their family.
Somewhere in this country workers are being told their jobs will be moving to foreign soil. Somewhere in this world persons fueled by the lust for greed will desecrate the delicate balance of the earths ecological system.
Somewhere in this country a family struggles with unemployment hanging precariously between life and death of hope waiting for the opportunity to earn a living, to afford a house, put food on their table and clothes on their back. They are growing tired of depending upon handouts. They desperately want the ability to share their wages with those who too are victims of Human Greed. Somewhere in this world someone will stand in a church pulpit and promise God’s blessings to anyone who will send them money.
Need I continue God? Of course I don’t because you’re already aware of everything I mentioned plus more situations than I could ever imagine! Some are placing the blame for all human suffering on you, God. Is it your fault people turned their back on you and have been seduced by the spirit of greed? Is it your fault they have turned P and L from People and Lives to Profit and Loss? Is it your fault some cultures feel superior and threatened by another? Is it your fault people have been reduced to numbers in a computer?
GOD, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!
But, God you took action for your people oppressed by Human Greed, “years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.” (Exodus 2:23–25, NLT)
God, you answered their cries and sent them Moses and in an unparalleled display of Divine Power you brought Egypt to its knees, you freed your people, and declared justice on the Egyptian army.
God! Don’t you think it’s time history repeats itself in 2016?
Don’t you think it’s time?
God, I know I don’t have to remind you but I don’t think you’ll mind if I do but you told the Israelites you’d fight for them. Here’s what the bible says, ““When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’” (Deuteronomy 20:1–4, NLT)
I’d also like to remind you of what you told Moses at the burning bush, “Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.” (Exodus 3:7–8, NLT)
I know that Moses is speaking to your people but Lord, are we not your children as stated by the Apostle Paul, “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”” (Romans 8:15, NLT) Not only do I believe Christians living today are your adopted children but I believe the priest who needs to come and speak us is none other than our High Priest Jesus, your Only Begotten Son.
God, in my imagination I can see the events transpire as Jesus stood before the disciples for the last time before his ascension. “So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”” (Acts 1:6–11, NLT)
God, our world needs Jesus – our world needs the Jesus to address us and to rally us around your will and desire for our world but God we are not enough. We can better fend off Satan’s attack with the power of your Spirit than we can the infiltration of Human Greed in our lives. Even with the power of your Spirit we can only endure the infiltration of Human Greed – but Lord we have endured! But in the spirit of Habakkuk how long must we endure? How many more lives will Human Greed consume? How much more suffering must the poor and oppressed of world endure? The call has gone out from our churches to give our dollars and cents for to help others but Lord, we can not give what we don’t have. Our giving needs to be supplemented by your divine justice as it infiltrates Human Greed toppling their power structure.
God there is enough in this world for everyone don’t you think it’s time it be distributed fairly?
Don’t you think it’s time?
God, author Henry Nouwin wrote, “When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognizes the Christ who lives in other people’s. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore others’. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people’s pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness, and neediness. By this avoidance we might lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty, we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them to meet God.” (From the Henri Nouwin Society “Daily Meditation for August 19, 2007”)
To me, Crusty the Christian, it seems that brother Nouwin has hit the “nail on the head,” and the lives of us who are the poor and oppressed need to be illuminated bright enough for Human Greed to see. But Lord, our lives are shinning in a dark world – it is Divine Justice that needs to illuminate thus eliminating the darkness in the world so Human Greed can see us and see you in us.
Respectfully, and in a spirit of repentance,
Crusty the Christian