So Romans 9: 18 says, "So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen."
It's been a few weeks now since I posted Part One of this series, but I still remember what the Lord said in response to my questions.
He said, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive. They are both true.
You see, to our very-human eyes and brains, these two verses are mutually exclusive - contradictory, even.
One says that God's thoughts towards us are good, and not evil, while the other says that He chooses to harden hearts so that they refuse to listen.
How can God who only wants good for a person choose to harden their heart so that they refuse to listen?
It. Just. Doesn't. Fit.
Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive.
Yet, the Lord stands His ground: "Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive, Ronke."
The Lord is asking me (and you, of course) to open our minds to a universe where Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are not mutually exclusive.
The Lord is asking us to understand in faith. Maybe we can't understand now with sight, but we can, with faith.*
We may not understand WHY or HOW it is even possible, but it is.
There is a paradigm shift here: Not trying to use human logic to prove the Bible right, but using the Bible to prove your thinking right (i.e. inform your thinking).
And if God - who made the heavens and the earth in six days - says that Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 9:18 are both true, then they are.
It is true because He said it. Not because you can prove it - using logical reasoning or scientific evidence.
It is true because it is true.
Does this sound foolish?
Then, I must be saying something right. **
*2 Corinthians 5:7
** 1 Corinthians 1:18-27
Not trying to use human logic to prove the Bible right, but using the Bible to prove your thinking right (i.e. inform your thinking).
There is a thing to be said about confidence.
Really, one of the coolest aspects of growing up (for me) is that my confidence has been forced to grow up as well.
I used to be terrified to have questions about Christianity, about the Lord, about the Bible.
I was scared I would unearth something that would change my faith, change my understanding, change me.
I was scared because I was afraid that one of the answers I sought would make Him untrue.
I should have known that when fear is the major driver, the Lord is probably not in it.
I remember asking an older person, as a kid, who gave birth to God. I don't remember the answer I was given, but I remember feeling that I should not have asked that question.
I remember feeling listless and unsatisfied with the thought that going to heaven meant we will be singing in choir forever and ever. I could barely stand 4 hours in church, talk less of eternity!
But I remember never questioning.
The problem with never questioning is that there is only one outcome: ignorance.
The thing is God does not do ignorance. He said that we perish when we don't know. (Hosea 4:6)
I would never, ever, ever, ever, in a million years, be where I am today if I did not question. If I just buried the contrary way I was feeling and let it go.
Don't get me wrong. There are still many things I don't understand yet, but I trust that God will explain it to me - either here on earth or when I see Him and bug Him with questions.
" The problem with never questioning is that there is only one outcome: ignorance.
This past Saturday, I was reading Romans 9.
Verse 18 says: "So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen."
Well darn, I thought.
How am I supposed to explain this, Lord?
How do I counter a self-assured Twitter user who uses this verse to oppose Your goodness? How does this verse correlate with Your goodness?
Wanna know what He said, read Part 2!