Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I ate out twice today…

The first was a meal with my Advanced English class from the school, sort of around lunchtime.

Then, after a haircut on Queen Street and a coffee with Nigel, it was time to catch-up with old friend Bill.

I was keen to see this guy. The last time I’d seen him was five months ago, when he’d dropped the bombshell that his doctor had just told him that he would completely lose his hearing within two years.

Now, five months later, as I waited outside Starbucks, I prayed and wondered how this meeting would go. Would I now have to speak a bit louder? Would I find in him a newer, stronger commitment to God? Or could he have become, well, a bit jaded?

Of course not. In the event, predictably I suppose, we just met up and ordered our burgers as usual, and started yakking away about life, the universe and everything almost as though we were avoiding the subject, which of course we weren’t.

So, once we were out of the obvious catch-up subjects, I asked him “How’s the hearing?”

At this, a slightly perplexed gaze came over his face.

He told me that five months ago a heck of a lot of people had been praying for him, and for his hearing. For insurance reasons he’d gone to see another doctor for a second opinion. The second doctor had concluded that the first doctor had been wrong. He was, in fact, fine.

And five months later, he was still fine.

Wow. Big sigh of relief. Even bigger long conversation about whether this was the work of God, man or chance. Would he have been okay if no-one had prayed? Can prayers go back in time? Had he in fact been okay all along, or had he actually been healed?

I had to admit that of late, ever since reading Michael Duncan’s book Who Stands Fast – Discipleship in Tough Places I have been taking more on-board the idea of open theism – that the future is unwritten, and therefore God does not know what our future is.

Two important points to emphasise here:

1. Michael Duncan says in the above mentioned book that he does not believe in open theism.

2. Hand on heart, I’d say that I now believe both open theism and closed theism. I think that God has set some of the future in stone, but left other stuff up to us, and this is why there appears to be evidence for both in the Bible.

So anyway, Bill pointed me to how Abraham, having been told by God to leave home, apparently either disobeyed or was unable to carry out this instruction, and went to Haran with his dad instead.

Before our ancestor Abraham had gone to live in Haran, the God of glory appeared to him in Mesopotamia and said to him, ‘Leave your family and country and go to the land that I will show you.’ And so he left his country and went to live in Haran. After Abraham’s father died, God made him move to this land where you now live.
Acts 7:2b-4, Good News

(there’s more about this back in Genesis 11-12)

This also all overlapped with the topic of how difficult I had found it to return to New Zealand the last two times.

When we finally went our separate ways again, I heading off to Hope City Radio to drop off another 10-hour DVD of past shows for repeating, I think it’s safe to say that we hadn’t come to a single ‘nother conclusion all evening.

But I really valued spending the time pouring over all this stuff.


2 comment(s):

At 4:39 pm, Blogger Tim said...

Open Theism and Closed Theism - your comment on that you believe both. That is in essence Open Theism (no Closed Theism needed!). Open Theists believe that the future is partially open. The rest of the future God has made up his mind about what He is going to bring about in Advance (eg the Second Coming of Christ). The area that is the Open part is huge and wide!

Best book in plain language on the subject is 'The God of the Possible' by Gregory Boyd

At 4:57 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Cheers Tim - I realised that few years later when checking out

Thanks also for the reading suggestion - I may well check that out.



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