We Have the Program and the Tickets, But . . .

In 1958, Rogers & Hammerstein produced a Pulitzer Prize winning musical.  It was an adaptation of James A. Michener’s best-selling novel, Tales of the South Pacific.  The plot had a WWII setting with a romantic theme. The movie was so popular that people were turned away.  In order to have bragging rights, they bought used programs and ticket stubs and boasted of having seen it. They had the program, tickets, etc., but never saw the musical.
It is possible for us to boast of knowing and belonging to God today, but have never met God.  The world is somewhat oblivious to the association that God has to our lives and the world in which we live.  He is scoffed at as being the Creator.  Clothes had to have a maker, but the one wearing them is an accident?  Plastic roses in a vase had to have a maker, but that from which it was made is an accident.  The airplane had to have a maker, but the bird from which it was patterned was accidental.
God is sovereign or supreme in every way.  It is not uncommon for us to rebuke people for worrying about their physical needs (Phil. 4:19), but say nothing about God caring for our spiritual deficiencies (Heb. 13:20-21).  Our God is so capable and deals with us from an endless supply of blessings. To access God’s provisions, someone has conjectured that if we “Give Him what you have, and He will give you more!” God deals with us similar to how a parent would take a child to a toy store, leading them by junk candy and cookie counter to the toy section in the rear. There had to be a stalling-off accompanied by deprivation and hurt in order to enjoy the bliss at the end.
So many are distracted along the way and never receive the bliss.  It is true that “God proposes and man disposes.”  The best laid plans of God are foiled by man’s determination to self-indulge.  I am so glad that God delights in forgiveness and “does not retain His anger forever” (Mic. 7:18).  He is to be sought because He is near and He will hear (Isa. 55:6).  God is for the weak (Rom. 5:6) and although He has a strong hand, He will feed us like a shepherd and gather us like lambs with His arms to His bosom….and gently lead… (Isa. 40:10-11; Jn. 10:10).  He is gentle in that “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice” (Isa. 42:2).
One of the most powerful hymns is “Standing Outside.”  Folks, we may have the program and itinerary, but not be admitted come “show-time” (Matt. 7:21)!
–Mike King, Lakeside church of Christ

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