A tale of two streams
By Robert Warren
It seemed like a good idea to get a room on the first floor of the motel that I stayed at recently. It was near the lobby, close to the complimentary coffee and the continental breakfast. But at 4:30 the next morning it seemed a little less like good “fortune” when the army of linemen began to congregate there to go out and fix power lines in the city from the recent storm. Now God bless every one of them! I am so thankful for them—I had to remind myself at that early hour.
So naturally the next morning I was particularly tired as I woke up and stumbled to the shower to get ready for the days meetings. Oh, the shower and then the cup of coffee were going to be so good! But then something interesting happened that for a second time made the location of my room perhaps not so fortuitous. There was a strangely cold drip hitting me from above in the midst of my nice warm shower.
A quick scan of the ceiling revealed a definitively yellow stream coming down from above, and the first thought that came to mind was not “There Shall be Showers of Blessings” (remember, I was on the first floor with two floors above me). Actually, what happened in the next few moments is pretty much a blur, but it involved my becoming an instant contortionist as I tried to quickly bring my shower to a conclusion, dodge the drips from above, and then vacate the closet-sized bathroom without re—shall we say, “contaminating” myself.
Now this could be about how the rain falls on the just and the unjust, which it does. But it made me think of something else. When I talked with them at the front desk, one of my primary concerns was this: where did the water originate? Was this a water line problem or was it a sewage-related leak?
The friendly lady at the desk assured me that it was a water line problem. I did not argue, and by the time the “clean” water passed through two floors it could have naturally acquired that distinctively yellow tinge, but I have to admit I am a bit skeptical.
There is a saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a _________? A duck! There is also a passage in the Bible that says “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them”(Romans 1:18-19). It goes on to say that when people go down this road of suppressing the truth they end up “exchanging the truth …for a lie” (v. 25).
We can come to the place where we do not recognize truth anymore. Jesus, in talking about the last days, says preachers who speak erroneous doctrine and teachings will gain popularity and will even be able to perform “great signs and wonders” so that “if possible” they will “deceive …even the elect” (Matthew 24:24; repeated in Mark 13:22).
I am concerned for our country and the church in these days. It seems like it is becoming so easy to interpret things the way we would like them to be instead of how they are, ignoring inconvenient evidence to the contrary of what we want to believe. Finish out Romans chapter 1 and see what you conclude.
There is a reason Jesus said things like “He who has an ear, let him hear.” Now I wasn’t there and so I do not have years of research to back up my point, but I dare say most of the people in His day had ears and most of them could hear. So what did He mean? The implication is that just audibly hearing did not necessarily equate to receiving truth.
Jesus did not unstop deaf ears and open blinded eyes just to be kind to people; He did it as an object lesson as well. We are all spiritually blind until He opens our eyes, and spiritually deaf until He opens our ears; He is the way, the truth, and the life. The Holy Spirit who was poured out into believers on Pentecost is still being poured out today and He leads into all truth, because He is the Spirit of truth. On the other hand, the devil is a liar and the father of lies; when he lies he speaks his native tongue (John 8:44). Beware of that strangely seductive voice with the slight hiss in it. [I can’t resist one example: “Does God really say homos-s-s-sexuality is a s-s-s-sin. . .?”]
We cannot let government officials, entertaining media, catchy preachers and attractive singers define what the truth is. Just like I know what I saw in that shower, we can know what God’s truth is. Of course we share it in love, but it is not unloving to stand for the truth, it is the most loving thing we can do.
Oh, and one more thing: don’t eat yellow snow; now it could be that someone happened to spill their lemonade there but . . .