Aces in the Hole

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“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)

Elisha’s gopher is freaked. There are folks gunning for his prophetic master and he’s going to be caught in the crossfire. As far as he can tell, they are way outnumbered. Elisha, on the other hand, is as cool as a cucumber. He knows something his little buddy doesn’t. He’s got himself a few aces in the hole, a whole host of badassed angelic hombres who are ready to fire at the drop of a hat. Elisha asks God to show the boy what he’s got up his sleeve. God gives the gopher a new pair of eyes and suddenly he sees. The hills around them are jam-packed with horses and chariots of fire. It’s a good day to be a Jew.

God loves this kind of drama. There just something about keeping the trump card hidden that really sparks his plug. In spite of the fact that it drives the rest of us crazy, the eleventh hour tide-turner is one of his signature moves. Like they say, God is never late, but rarely early either. He obviously likes to pull the ripcord just before impact.

Maybe it’s a kind of divine adrenaline rush. I mean, when you’re all-powerful there’s not a lot of worry about pulling out of the nose dive. You always know that you’ve got the voltage to power yourself out of trouble. So maybe one of the ways you can get your kicks is to bring yourself (and your dweebie followers) as close to past tense as possible before pulling the supernatural rabbit out of the hat. Over and over again in the Old Testament God’s people find themselves on the brink of annihilation. They cry out to God who just happens to be passing by. He fires an angelic howitzer or two and—chitty bang bang—the enemy is swamped, smacked, or smoked into irrelevance in the nick of time. Nobody asks why God didn’t do it a week ago. God just wants to have some fun.

Jesus is the same way. He takes a boat ride with his disciples and falls asleep. (Dramamine can do that to a guy.) Suddenly a nasty storm storms the little open boat. Jesus sleeps on. The waves are pounding the little boat and threatening to send the whole crew to Davy Jones’ locker. Jesus sleeps on. The disciples bail like crazy but the storm is winning. It looks like certain doom for our boys. Jesus sleeps on. Finally, the hysterical disciples scream at Jesus. “Dude of God! Wake up! Don’t you care that we’re going down?” Jesus blinks a few times. He’s still kind of groggy from the Dramamine. (He probably shouldn’t have taken so much.) Then, just as all hope is gone, Jesus tells the storm to shut up. To the disciples amazement, it does. Jesus acts like it’s no big deal, but that’s part of the show. Again, nobody wonders why he didn’t adjust the weather before they set out. Nope, it had to be a cliff-hanger or it wouldn’t have been as much fun. The fact that the disciples were barfing their guts out in fear only adds to the thrill of the rescue.

With God timing is everything. According to the Apostle Paul, even the salvation thing itself was pulled off “at just the right time.” Geez. You can’t even get saved early. But I guess being God has its privileges, one of those being that you can pretty much mess with the minds of human beings whenever you want. And I have to admit, God’s sense of the dramatic does keep things interesting down here. You never really know when he’s going to pull a fast one on you.

Okay, so maybe “fast” isn’t the right word.

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