Saturday, August 21, 2010

"I'll storm the gates of heaven for him!" exclaimed a friend of mine, worried about a friend with serious health problems. The friend's doctor had previously totally botched up a surgery to remove some cancer, or to straighten out some twisted intestines or something. Whatever it was, the surgery didn't work, and the friend awoke in more pain than when he went under. The doctor's response? "Sorry, nothing I can do" and left him laying in pain on the hospital bed.  I was appalled at the situation. I don't know whatever became of him, as we've since lost touch. Seems I heard that the doctor was sued, and another specialist brought in. Although the problem wasn't totally fixed, the new doctor was able to offer him some relief from the pain.
I pondered my friend's exclamation. Storm the gates of heaven? I've never been sure of what that meant, but in my mind's eyes, I see her walking up boldly to the gates of heaven, and pounding on them until an angel or something lets her in. Then I see her begging God to give the sick friend some relief from his pain.  Is that how it works? I've read across scriptures where it does say to let our request be known to God, but nothing about storming heaven. Question--when we ask God for something, do we beg Him to do whatever? Or do we ask, and let it be. If God's answer is 'no', will us constantly begging and pleading make him change His mind? If your child constantly begged and pleaded with you to let him eat arsenic because it looks like powered sugar, will you let him, eventually? Does God behave like us?

I kept silent as my friend lamented her fears for our sick friend. No way was I going to say anything. I knew she was reacting out of fear and heartache. It's never easy watching someone you love suffer, knowing there's not a blasted thing you can do, except trust God on their behalf. What else can we do? The doctors can't fix it, so who else would care for us like God? Is "Storming the gates of heaven" another way of "approaching boldly the throne of God in our time of need"? Possibly. Semantics do tend to throw me.

The opposite end of that spectrum, I read a status message on a relatives' social networking page: We love how you storm the gates of hell for Jesus!

Oh, really? If this person is storming the gates of hell FOR Jesus.. then why do we NEED Jesus? I asked the page owner how he felt about that posting made on his behalf--he laughingly said he'd leave the storming hells' gates to Jesus. As far as he himself, he was just going to rest in Jesus, and abide in Him. He's new to the Grace of God Gospel, and is really drinking up the truths found within the pages of God's word. He's still not ready to tackle the years of legalism built up in the local congregation that he attends. He never did respond to the well meaning friend, but there will come a time that we'll have to take a stand for what we believe. The line will be drawn in the sand, and we'll be asked to make a choice. What will the choice be? Will we storm the gates of heaven and/or hell for a loved one/Jesus, or will we rest in His finished work? Be at ease because, no matter what the world throws at us, Jesus has it under control.

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