Modern people find it difficult to believe that a proper and compassionate authority figure would ever abandon someone or something to its own ends. Historical buildings must be preserved at any cost. No entitlement must be cut. My child should never be disciplined by someone else for their misbehavior, even if it is breaking the law, breaking their word or breaking a commandment. We are to be taken care of by the benevolent leader, regardless of how self-destructive our ways have been.
Continuing everything forever is simply not possible. Hard choices have to be made when there is not enough money or when a person or community refuses to stop mistreating themselves or others.
But we still try to continue everything forever. We are trying even now. When a leader calls for rational, problem-solving action, personal responsibility or even personal sacrifice, their ratings dip at best and at worst they get excoriated in public by protestors and the media eye. How dare they stop those programs that benefit us! Take it out of someone else’s pocket, not ours!
Could this be why God has fallen out of favor for so many? After all, God calls on us to live right or expect to be handed over to our deserved punishment–personally or nationally (Isaiah 19).
Just who does God think s/he is anyway?
This is the way of things, however, and a key way that we humans learn. We choose a different course when our wayward one has ill effects. Remove the ill effects and we don’t learn.
The triune one wants me to learn to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself. This means my heart, soul, mind and strength need to shaped in the right direction–away from self-centeredness and toward service to God and neighbor.
This is the paradox: I gain greater freedom as I grow to understand my limitations.
-mark l vincent