Nothing surprises me anymore. I have diligently searched my heart and my conscience completely agrees with me that, people, things, or places – especially people, have disappointed me and may continue to do so, but surprises, I don’t think so? I checked out of that hotel for good a long time back. Let me put it another way. I have been around the block quite a few times, and although I have yet to, ‘been there’, ‘done that’, and ‘got-the-T-shirt-to-show-for-it’, I’m at the point in my life where I’m convinced that nothing will surprise me anymore. Not on this side of Heaven!
Recent events have solidified my conviction. A prominent Pastor of a ‘Mega Church’ died under mysterious circumstances. While I was disappointed by the many ‘alleged’ things that emerged about his life, I was not surprised at all.
I was also not surprised when some Christians, made careless and hurt-laden remarks. Even comments with nuclear warheads were hurled at unsuspecting targets that, I’m sure, caused some massive collateral damages. My disappointment registered quite high on the Richter scale, but again my surprise Monitor was just a flat liner!
What nearly tipped my surprise scale was an assertion about Heaven and whether this Pastor made it there. That statement created an unprecedented firestorm that begot many other alarming statements. The door of cheap opportunity was flung open for stone throwing and finger-pointing. Labels like ‘false teacher’, ‘prosperity preacher’ and many others were tacitly thrown about with unrelenting precision. What gets under my skin is the brazen deception that some people think they have. They seemingly have the monopoly on all truth, theological purity, and godly exactitude. They are therefore strategically equipped with an unmitigated gall to accost others by declaring with certainty that, their final eternal destiny.
No one knows who will or will not go to heaven. The bible clearly outlines how to get there, to be sure. But whether or not we actually get there is the exclusive domain and right of the Sovereign God Almighty to determine. The last time I checked He did not delegate that responsibility to anyone. Therefore, no one should be that pompously presumptuous. That is immaturity, naiveté and unbridled haughtiness. People who behave in such legalistic ways remind me of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees of Jesus’ days. These religious bigots strained water so they won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but in doing so swallow camels! No wonder Jesus reserved the harshest comments for them.
I hasten to add that, I am not advocating a reckless acceptance for watered down biblical preaching or deceptive gospels. Jim Jones, David Koresh and the likes are vivid reminders of what could go wrong if we do not temper our quest and passion for God with humility, a complete submission to the truth as revealed in His word, and a constant willingness to yield to His ways. I am a firm believer of rigorous theology and robust walk in all scriptural truth. I also believe that the bible only comes alive when we submit spiritually to divine dances with the true God. He reveals Himself to us in progressive ways. I am only cautioning against knee-jerk reactions and throwing-out-the-baby-with-the-bath-water response to human frailties and failures.
This is only a call for temperance! The kind that leaves room for grace. No one is perfect. Not even people called to preach. No one! A careful walk through the passages of the bible will reveal that God used imperfect people to display His perfect glory. This reminds us of how decrepit humans are without Him.
So I’m reserving my ‘surprise energy’ for a better time and place. That is where surprises will have real meaning. To ensure I will get to experience that moment, I have secured for myself a very special item, a ticket to Heaven.
I can’t wait for the show.