TITLE: Paradox of God
By Janice Cartwright
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Have you ever given thought to, or viewed God and/or the things of God with an eye to discover a bit of paradox? I have in the past at various times, but it seems lately He is placing this concoction of confectionery before me almost daily, saying, “Here try one!” or “How about this kind?”
Some years ago now, I first read Philip Yancey’s book, “The Jesus I Never Knew.” In it each chapter is prologued with a quote from a famous person, one being from Napoleon where he begins, “Everything in Christ astonishes me. . .”
The proclamation itself astonished me! Because while I had chronicled many wonderful things about Jesus, astonishment, or surprise had never been one of them. I guess I must have been awfully stodgy back then, but that is the profane truth.
In the ten or more years that have passed since that time I have learned to count on Jesus' surprises. He has never disenchanted me. Sheer numbers, paradoxes in Himself unveiled, are one way, one of the mechanisms He employs to amaze me.
The paradox of strength in weakness has been a recent confounding of mine. At church I opted for a ladies bible study with the dubious title, “Confident Weakness.” The springboard scripture, II Cor.12: 9, was like a Russian nesting doll in reverse. For example inside one babushka named "Weak Christian" might have been another called "Strong Savior." Each revelation became more glorious than the previous.
But then last Sunday the buzzword came flying at me again, this time from Pastor’s Christmas sermon. Hearing his comments on the great paradox of the Incarnation, I began to recognize a pattern. “The Lord is trying to tell me something,” I said in my spirit, and I began riffling through mental archives.
What a throng came swooping out! Scriptures, passages, and persons from the Old and New Testaments. Parables and principles. Attributes of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
I feel certain there are hundreds, probably thousands more, waiting to be tasted. I delight to share these few.
Paradox I, and so forth:
If you want to have a lot of faith, have a little.
“. . . assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matt 17:20
If you want to save your life, lose it.
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:39.
If you want to be strong, be weak.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” II Cor. 12:9
If you want to be master, be servant.
"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Matt. 23:11-12
If you want to be rich, be poor.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:3
If you want to rejoice, be sad.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4
If you want to be full, be hungry.
“Blessed are those who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matt. 5:7
If you want to slay a giant, call a child.
“And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." I Sam 17:33
“Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. I Sam 17:49
If you want to ignite a sacrifice, pour water on it.
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” Elijah before the priests of Baal in I Kings 18:38
For want of paper I leave this last as summation of all former. If you crave to hear a word from the Almighty, listen for the still, small voice.
“ Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1Kings 19:11-13
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