Barry Amundsen (10 Jan 2012)
"The feeling that Jesus/Rapture seems sometimes "too good to be true?""

Mathman,
 
http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/jan2012/mathman19.htm
 
You said:
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One of my biggest hang ups about the Rapture that is just around the corner is combatting what I have been taught over and over again by my parents. The old adage goes, "if it seems too good to be true, than it probably is". I have taken this to heart and I have a very hard time letting it go for anything, including when it comes to our precious Lord. In a way, it has sometimes hampered or limited my excitement on the Rapture to a certain extent. Quite simply, the Rapture just seems to me to be too good to possibly be true.

This is where my flawed HUMAN mental process impedes me. It is based on the fact that many of us have a hard time TRULY accepting that Jesus would do so much for us for nothing in return. And yet He did...

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I believe that you have described something that Jesus knew we all deal with and He addressed, that because of our fallen world that we all grow up in and have become conditioned by, that anything too good to be true usually is etc... And that for this reason Jesus knew that we have trouble believing that God really wants to give us the good things that He offers us. This is I believe the very heart of our "race" as Paul calls it and is what determines an over-comer or an overcomed one. Remember the servant who hid his master's coin and how he thought of his master as a "froward" or "hard" master? That is, he thought that his master was too good to be true and therefore one that you had to deal with as difficult to "score good from" or however you want to think of it... The other guys learned to see the master as one who is very good and were not afraid to step out in faith and invest their faith in what He had given them etc. I believe that Jesus knows full well this struggle we have. 
 
In order to help us through this situation Jesus told some parables which sort of sum up our conditioning by this world we grew up in. He demonstrates that He understands why we view anything too good with suspicion. It is because we have learned that to get anything we need even from a friend, let alone a non sympathetic official type source, we all know how we normally are treated. We usually have to resort to certain tactics in order to get our needs met. We just accept the fact that to get what we need we must either beg or become a pest and "wear down" the person's resistance and then even though they won't help us because they care or are being a good friend, they still help just to get rid of us as it were. This very reality about our fallen world is what caused Jesus to tell the parables of the friend who needed to borrow bread from his buddy after hours when it was not convenient. Or the widow woman who went to the "unjust judge" which "feared not God nor regarded man" and she needed his help. In both examples the help was only given to get rid of the person needing the help, right?
 
Too often in my Christian life, I have heard preachers use these parables to suggest that Jesus is teaching that in order to get God to help us, we must become like these two, the man needing bread and the widow needing help from the unjust judge, and resort to "importunity" or the tactic of "wearing down" the one we are requesting help from. As though God will be impressed and moved into action by our stick-to-it-ive-ness because it shows we really want what we are asking for and really believe for His help if we don't give up too easily. Have you ever heard that sermon? I bet you have. THAT IS NOT WHAT JESES WAS TEACHING AT ALL! (Sorry for shouting but ooooh!) He was saying just the opposite! He is using those examples to show us that He understands that this treatment is what we are used to when dealing with this world. But then He is saying we must learn NOT to treat God this way if we want Him to "avenge us speedily". He will help us speedily when we ask in the correct way, believing. He is saying that it is to those who will be willing to go to God as a small child goes to his loving father and asks for bread and knows that his loving father will not give him a stone. Nor a scorpion when he asks an egg nor a serpent when he asks a fish etc. The child learned by tasting and seeing that his earthly father (though evil knows how to give good things to his children) is going to provide good food. We likewise should learn this about God. This can take us a lifetime to learn but oh how good it is when we finally do. This is what I believe the Philadelphia Church has that gives them the oil in their lamp. They have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of PEACE with God and are prepared to go out and meet Jesus with no fear at His appearing because they have used their time here to taste and see that God is NOT too good to be true!
 
I'll give an example from my life:
 
In February of 2011 my wife and I were asked to move out of the half of the split-level house that I had been renting for the previous 20 years. They said they would have asked us sooner but delayed because we just got married in Nov. 2010. The housing market being what it was (Southern California) and our landlord being in real estate they had no advise to give us because we were paying a very low rent since I had been childhood friends with the landlord/owner's son. They gave us no set deadline but advised us to begin looking and we did but found things very bleak. To put it mildly my faith was tested. Long story short, when things looked impossible and even my wife was losing faith, I held strong by continuously going to God in prayer and asking Him what He wants me to do. Each time I did, Jesus told me not to even look for a place but He suggested I busy myself in other things not even related to seeking housing. My wife went along with me trusting my faith because hers was not really in total agreement and she constantly was fearing for our future. Our friends thought we were nuts for our trusting God and not even looking very hard because what we did find was not happening for us. We made our request known to God with prayer, praise and thanksgiving according to Philippians, but nothing was happening at all. Our very patient landlords were beginning to lose their patience with us as the weeks became months and we were not even packing stuff yet. When my wife pressed me for what I'm doing about this, I would again pray and ask God what to do and He would answer me the same way each time with these words, "I know something you don't know." Which I of course shared with my wife and she was not amused.
 
I knew that in my past God had always come through whenever my faith was put to the test and I waited on Him. This was the big one though. I knew that if God does not come through for me now all those other times will seem like a fluke. People had known of my constant exhortation to have faith in God but now mine was being tested for all to see and if I fail in this they will all see it. If we end up homeless or in some horrible place and have to give up our 4 small, long-time and beloved dogs, 2 cats, 3 hens, well it will look like God let us down and I would really wonder what happened. But God had always come through for me when I obeyed Him and I was in it for good and all.
 
I wish I could tell you all that happened but it would be a long story so let me say that when things got to a point where the initially understanding landlord was now threatening legal action to get us out, and my wife was now ready to hang me and God both out to dry, I again prayed as before and again God said, "I know something you don't know" I said, "Lord, Linda is ready to punch me if I tell her that one more time, can you give me anything more than that this time?" He laughed and then added, "You're gonna like it!" I immediately told Linda this but still she was not as excited as I was. By now Linda had found three different places that we were going to look at the following day (we were both at our work as musicians and this day we were playing for a senior center as we often do.) The next day we looked at the first of the three. It was never gonna work for reasons I'll spare you. Just like others we had looked at. The second was actually something we considered because we were getting desperate but if you saw it you wouldn't believe it. The third was our house! When we first saw it at the end of the gated driveway, I thought it couldn't be it because it was not a broken down shack as all the others had been. I told Linda, it must be out back somewhere else, but no, this was it. A beautiful almost new guesthouse on a private house lot near the main house and the landlords are wonderful people who said after we were here a while that we are a "godsend" because they prayed for the right renters. They were willing to keep the rent lower being more concerned that the renters be the right sort of people. They have treated us like family and we know that God provided us a place we can afford and it meets all our needs.
 
He was right He knew about this place all along though I did not, and He was right WE LIKE, yay LOVE IT!
 
I want to say that part of the process that I went through was that I had to come to grips with the fact that if I could not believe that God would help me with this need and provide us with a suitable place to live now, how would I be able to believe that He will then let me into heaven at the rapture? My faith was being tested but I knew that if I could pass this test that I would also be able to pass the rapture test too. No one can tell me now that God does not reward us for our trust in Him!