Sometimes it’s annoying being a writer. You hear a phrase, see a word, look at a picture and without warning or permission, your mind begins putting sentences, thoughts, ideas, stories together. And until you let them flow out of your fingers to paper or screen, you are weighed down with them. That’s how it is for me, anyway.
My husband and I were watching “Leap Year” one day last week, and in the movie, there’s a scene where the Irish hero of the story is trying to help Amy Adams’ character get her luggage back from a group of goons. (Goons … that’s my nod to the Myerstown Herald for anyone who has read that poor excuse for a newspaper.) Adams is trying to convince them to give her the luggage back and her traveling companion enters the room with his two cents about the situation. One of the goons replies, “Who the (bleep) are you?”
I’ve heard this phrase so many times before but only that day did it trigger something in my mind. The goons knew who they were dealing with in Adams — she was the girl from whom they stole the luggage. This guy, though? Who was he? And why was he butting in? She had every right to fight for her belongings. What did he have to do with it?
It reminded me of a couple of instances in the Bible where authority is questioned. Jesus, after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, cleared out the temple of those who were using it for personal gain. His actions created no few enemies among the synagogue leaders of the day. He was teaching in the temple and the leaders came to him, asking, “By what authority are you doing these things?” and “Who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)
In modern parlance, they might as well have asked the same question the goons in the movie did: “Who the (bleep) are you?” A better question, had they known, would have been: “Who in heaven are you?”
They needed Jesus’ credentials to perform miracles, clear the temple, even teach. Their authority was threatened, so they questioned his.
Another time, recorded in Acts, in the life of the early church, seven sons of a Jewish chief priest tried to cast out demons. Acts 19:13-15 says:
“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (One day) the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?'”
The sons then received the worst beating of their lives from the demon-possessed man, and people were in awe of the name of the Lord. Verse 17 says “the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.”
I don’t know all the ins and outs of that passage and what it means for us, but I know that we are not to use God’s name lightly. At the same time, though, we, Christians, do have some authority in talking about matters of faith. That’s not the same as having all the answers. The more answers I think I have, the more questions I come up with.
I am an authority on my life, however. I know what the Lord has done for me. How He has changed me, held me, grown me, supported me, disciplined me, carried me and blessed me. Of those things, I can confidently speak. Beyond that, I must humbly admit that only God knows. Only He knows why certain things happen in our lives. Only He knows the breakthroughs that are about to occur. Only He can see the end of a situation that to us seems neverending.
Who I am is no contest to who He is.