People are falling away from Christianity. Surveys by prominent pollsters indicate that Christian churches are losing the interest of young people even though many have adopted a seeker-friendly, worldly approach to church as entertainment and non-commitment. Christians are often viewed by the media as hypocrites or people so driven by their idealistic view of faith that they are rigid and judgmental. And every so often, there is an incident that reinforces the stereotype of Christians as nutcases—extra-biblical, emotional, and self-indulgent. Sadly, it only takes one for the detractors of Christianity to paint all Christians the color of crazy with the same brush. Such is a recent case in Pennsylvania.
According to AP and CBS, who are not very Christian-friendly to start with, a 31-year-old Drums, Pennsylvania woman, Nadeida Reilly, was arrested and her bail revoked as she was charged with aggravated assault and other offenses because she allegedly drove her car into another vehicle on purpose to test her faith. AP reports that an investigator said Reilly told him she had been driving around for a few hours, waiting for a calling from God, when she decided to drive through the oncoming vehicle. Trooper Bruce Balliet wrote in the arrest affidavit, “Reilly related God took care of her by not having her injured. Reilly expressed no concerns or remorse for the victims. Reilly also stated she did not care if the other people were injured because God would have taken care of them.” According to reports, two people were hospitalized with injuries.
How many of us have heard or are guilty of saying, “God is control” as a catch-all cliché when we are trying to make a point about something? It is not something that can be argued. Either you believe God is in control or you are pretty much a heretic. However, in CONTEXT, there are some things that we as humans do based on our own free will and our own decisions that have tremendous consequences. For example, you walk in front of a speeding train and it’s likely you are going to die. Ultimately, I guess God is in control, but you sure did a dumb thing. Nadeida Reilly did a dumb thing, too. And yet there will be those who argue that she was right, God is in control and He took care of all of them. Really bad thinking.
Let us recall Matthew 4:1-11, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil….Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Even Christ, in his wilderness temptation, knew not to tempt the Lord your God. You see, there is a unique combination of free will and God’s will in the partnership with the Lord. While our faith is proven by our actions, the consequences of our actions impact not only ourselves but others around us and how they view Christ and his followers. Just saying.