Dumb and Dumber Faith

Lloyd Christmas, the hopeless romantic/eternal optimist (and inspiration for our Christian faith during dark times?)

I shared in my last post the reason why I’ve been reading Revelation frequently in the past few months.

The apocalyptical prophesy writings in the Bible almost always unsettle me, lead me to self-examination, repentance, fear of what still lies ahead, and then ultimately fill me with great hope that I will make it through it all and eventually out of here through Jesus Christ, thanks only to Him and not my own works. Turning that sense of defeat and fear and dread into great joy and relief and HOPE at the end.

My heart process as I ponder these hard truths in God’s word is much like Lloyd’s reactions in the above encounter with Mary, with whom he was so thoroughly besotted. When hard reality begins to settle in, he deflates visibly. But he doesn’t stay there long. As hope rebuilds and his great love remains, he simply can’t see anything BUT the slim chance he was given–as just that, a chance. That’s all he needed to remain hopelessly in love.

I have loosely followed along with various ministers and writers, all professing Christians, who are giving voice to what many others might call ‘conspiracy theories’. There is also a popular meme floating around about watching the news to ‘see which chapter of Revelation we are on today.’ It is only funny because it rings so true.

I am not a scientist and so I won’t get into the various theories going around about why 2021 and beyond could make 2020 look like we were on a paradise vacation. See ‘science with Dr. Doug’ if interested in a professing Christian scientist who seems relatively sound (that is NOT an endorsement, though).

In terms of ministers-I am once again getting quite a bit of help and hope from Bill Randles recent blog posts and sermons. Although he seems to continue to ‘see’ Trump as something very different than I see Trump.

Having now examined many other Christian sites and self professed ‘watchmen’ I once avidly followed, it seems few of them leave the reader with a sense of hope in the love of God, and the love of God alone. It’s a lot of: sounding of alarms as well as ‘avoid and wait’ (for the rapture) talk instead, to me. Others may disagree.

What I am is a believer in Jesus Christ, and that is what I can speak to; and will. My aim in life is to be as hopelessly besotted with Him– as Jim Carrey’s character, Lloyd, was with Mary. But I need encouragement from others to stay in that kind of hope. Those I once turned to for that encouragement are increasingly camped out on ‘warnings’ and this IS what it is ‘predictions’ of what lies ahead. (Oh, the unease such definitive statements bring me! Contrasted with the comfort AND the conviction to be found in Christians who simply say: I don’t know for sure but I can see how this might be…

And so to follow up on my last post, I want to share something that I believe He gave me during a troubled time of prayer where I was struggling with great fears and a sense of pending doom, in part because I had returned to some of these Christian pools from which I once drank freely and in seeming safety.

As I looked ahead to the future and began fearing greatly for my children, I didn’t see much hope at all.

That is when that scene from Dumb and Dumber came into my head and my heart grabbed onto it with a deep understanding, and a chuckle, of course… I knew that navigating my today and my tomorrow would involve grasping onto ‘dumb and dumber’ kind of faith. No matter what comes at me/us in the year and years to come–there is always, always, always HOPE in Jesus Christ. He can restore all the devil planned for evil and preserve what does remain and keep us from all the horror that may or may not come in our lifetimes.

Casting the pre-tribulation rapture and all those resulting arguments aside: The worldly odds of surviving the ‘pictures’ we are given of the actual apocalypse seem to give us a one in a million chance of mere survival, let alone making it out of here with eternal life intact. Yet there are a great throng of tribulation saints shown in Heaven who DO make it out of the end with their faith in tact.

God shows us what is to happen, sure, but He also makes it very clear that we ‘have a chance’. Those who remain in their love of Jesus above all else cannot be, and will not be, shaken by anything.

In the midst of so much which can be visibly seen as scary and dangerous and dark: the world might call those of us who retain unshakable hope in the unseen dumb and dumber.

I believe our Heavenly Father calls it precious! Jesus encourages us to be as children in our faith and in our love of Him. And we love because He first loved us.

Rethinking the Rapture? Not so fast.

This post has been modified from when I originally wrote it. When I first wrote it, I was questioning pre-tribulation rapture theology.

As of this updated writing, I do once again believe the rapture of the church is a real event and that it is going to be a separate event from the final end time coming (of Jesus back to the world). I also believe that we who call on Jesus will avoid both the worst of the tribulation, as well as the final destructive wrath of God.

But before I came to that amended conclusion, I wrote the following:

The last time I took a big trip, I had an exit row seat on several airplanes. If you aren’t familiar: before the plane takes off the flight attendant asks the people sitting in those seats for a spoken verbal confirmation, agreeing that you will help evacuate the plane in an emergency.

As the flight attendant was asking for my verbal confirmation, I had the thought that I should be the last one off the plane. As a believer I know where I am going (heaven) and others may not be saved yet. So it is only just, and right, that others who may not be saved should be the first people to get off the plane safely. That way they could possibly still be saved before they die. And so, after having that thought and knowing it was true– I braced and steeled myself, in case any destruction did come on that plane, I would actually stay there and do the right thing. Not succumb to the flesh thing and escape myself, but actually stay and help others evacuate safely–just as I had pledged to do.

I mean, when you are sitting in a seat right by the main exit hatch, it’d be pretty easy to open it up and DUCK out yourself just to be safe…

I also knew that fending for my own safety, above the safety of others, would be a real temptation in a disaster. Because I know just how human, fleshy, and fearful I am!

As I was pondering the current times we are living in, it struck me that the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture theology could come across as incredibly flesh-y.

It’s a lot like saying– I’m sitting by the exit door and going to be the first one off the crashing plane! See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya, suckers! To everyone left behind.

Wouldn’t it be more in alignment with basic Christian principles, for those of us already saved unto eternal life to stay on a plane going down just as long as possible, to try and make sure those who aren’t saved yet, get saved– before the wrath comes and it’s too late to save anyone?

Like sitting by the exit door on an airplane. What would a Jesus follower do in such a situation? She’d stay on the plane and try to make sure others lived (eternally), if at all possible. Her days would be filled with attempts to wake people up to the seriousness of the hour. She’d use all her energy and talents to bring people closer to Jesus.

What would selfish, fleshy me do? bail and preserve myself/not keep my word to help others off the plane…

Christians do have an exit row seat and we will be pulled out of here before the wrath of God comes down to destroy the world. That part is and has always been VERY clear in scripture. But with that prime seating spot, I am thinking comes greater responsibility toward others on the same plane; not less.

When I first wrote the above, it all seemed pretty simple and I was willing to discard a rapture theology that I came into believing later in my life (I grew up protestant–and I was not taught to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture as a child).

Since then God has reminded me many times that He is God. He does the saving, I do not. And when He decides it is time, it WILL be time. I will either fall in line with His plan or be left behind myself. What makes me think I know better than God Himself, how to save people anyway? The Great Tribulation will have a sifting effect. In my eagerness to ‘help with the harvest’ and save souls, what if I am working in opposition to God’s plan for the world; instead of in sync with it?

Listening to some old podcasts and interviews with Dave Hunt also had me rethinking my recent rethinking of the rapture.

In one interview Dave Hunt said the following, “If the bride isn’t eager for the wedding, better call the whole thing off!”

That one got to me. In my eagerness to save other people from impending doom, I wasn’t simply eager for the upcoming wedding–for meeting Jesus face to face myself. Which should always be my first goal and earnest desire as a Christian.

In the end I concluded that it isn’t about keeping an eye on others. It is about keeping my eyes so fixed on Jesus that I am very eager for the wedding, and will not hesitate to leave all here on earth (including other people) behind me. So that I can go and be married to the bridegroom. Because, again, if the bride isn’t eager for the wedding; better call the whole thing off.