Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from.”
God writes in crooked lines. That is a most crooked lie! I heard this expression for the first time while listening to a priest as he was justifying the immoral behavior of another. What he was trying to say was that “something good can come from something bad.” I couldn’t agree with him more. But to accuse God of allowing certain evil acts to happen is like accusing God of setting us up for a horrific fall! How amazing this is; that is, how amazingly untrue this is, and not only is this untrue but it is also insulting to God, and for various reasons.
First, it is like saying God walks in crooked lines, which would mean that God acts like a drunk. If there is one thing that we know about God, it is what he expects from us; and what exactly does he expect from us may be found in Scripture and in two words: avoid sin. Sin does not make us better. Sin is not required to make us stronger. Sin makes us evil, period. And when we sin, we hurt ourselves and we hurt others.
Second, it would mean that God is crooked; that he is a scoundrel! God teaches us by bashing us. It is like saying that some kids had to be abused so that some good could come out from all of this. It reminds me of something I heard not too long ago from a woman on TV. In justifying her abortion, she claimed, “I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today if it were not for my abortion.” She’s right! She wouldn’t be broken if it were not for her abortion. She wouldn’t be missing her better half; her child. The truth of the matter is: she would be a better woman today if she had chosen to keep her baby.
Mind you, what I am saying does not take away from the power or beauty of conversion. But the Lord did not claim that Mary Magdalene was a better woman because she was a former prostitute. Or that Matthew was a better man because he was a former thief. Or that Peter was a better man because he started off as a sinner. No. The truth of the matter is: if it weren’t for my sins, I would be a holy man!
When you are in the line of work that I am in, you find yourself accustomed to seeing and hearing a lot of things that don’t make much sense. It is a far too common occurrence, during teen retreats to hear the testimony of teens or young adults that screwed up royally in their life and then came back to Christ. I guess the attraction to such disasters is: it doesn’t matter if you have crashed and burned; God can still work his miracles. That’s true. But if we are trying to show the power of God, then is the child that never crashed or burned just as much a miracle story as the one that did? After all, when you have been thrown to the ground and have nearly lost your life, isn’t up the only way to go? I think we have placed far too much emphasis and far too much time on those who have been to hell and back. We tend to forget the one who never dared to go there in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I think the one who came back from hell to tell all is just as much of a surprise as the one who never dared to go there in the first place. They need to tell their story too, maybe as a model and not as a warning.
“Make straight the way of the Lord” (Jn 1:12) is not the same as saying, “God writes in crooked lines”. Nor is it the same as saying, “Who can make straight what He has made crooked?” (Ecc. 7:13) What this all means is that God’s glory can be found in good times and in bad times; when we are being tested and when we are on trial, just like His Son.
God will put us to the test, but we should never put God to the test. Unfortunately, that’s what we do all the time. We are constantly testing his patience; constantly testing his love; constantly testing his mercy and forgiveness; constantly testing his advice. The fools say, “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” (Wis 2:22) Do we need to sin to get (someone) closer to God? Did Judas need to sin to help save the world? Do we need to fall in order to stand?
Yes, the Lord is “close to the brokenhearted”, but those who put their trust in the Lord are even closer. God did not create us and put us in a maze. Rather, He created us and put us in a world that He loves very much, and with a path that couldn’t be any clearer: “Come follow me…I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.”
Crooked lines is the same as saying crooked lies.