Guest blogger, Debra Coleman Jeter @DebColemanJeter
What an intriguing question: does God have secrets? I love that my guest, Debra Jeter poses this question, because yes, I believe God does have secrets that He shares only with those who walk with Him. I believe you'll enjoy Debra's thought process and maybe she'll get you thinking as well. I know she stirred my pot. It's my prayer that Debra's ponderings will draw you closer to the One who loves you.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus spoke so often in parables? It occurred to me recently that it’s a lot like the advice writers hear about how important it is to show rather than tell. Long before computers and copiers, or even printing presses, people told stories to draw their audience in. Jesus was a master at this. In most of his parables, we identify with a character, whether it’s the prodigal son or his elder brother (Luke 15: 11-32), the bridesmaids who run out of oil or the ones who don’t (Matthew 25: 1-13).
In my family, we would often discuss a sermon after leaving the church building. Sometimes your mind goes blank for a few minutes and you think, “What was that about today?” Often the thing that brings it back is a story or a joke the preacher shared to make a point. The stories tend to stick with us longer than the rest, and they bring home the message behind the story.
There are times in our lives when we cannot help questioning why God allows the struggles, the pain, the suffering we see around us and sometimes experience ourselves. Occasionally we hear a story from someone who found Christ only after hitting rock bottom, and we think, “Aha! I see why God did that.”
But so often we simply cannot see the reason behind the things that happen in this world. If we compare our lives to a novel, the comparison falls flat. For one thing, as human beings, we are far more complex and full of contradictions than any of the characters in our favorite works of fiction. For another, we do not see the whole picture; the last chapters are not written in this lifetime. The Author who created us is infinitely wiser, infinitely more compassionate, but also infinitely more mysterious than our favorite novelist.
In Matthew 13:10-11, the disciples asked Jesus pointblank, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
Jesus told them, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”
In my life and those of my loved ones, I long for perfect clarity. I want to understand completely; and when I cannot, my faith sometimes falters.
We read in Matthew 13:13-14, that Jesus’ use of parables fulfilled Old Testament prophecy: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” I can’t claim to understand God’s plan fully, but I take comfort in what is probably my favorite scripture, 1st Corinthians 13:12-13: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
A Tweetable to Encourage Others
Does God have secrets? Guest @DebraColemanJeter via @NanJonesAuthor shares great insight. (Click to Tweet)
A Vanderbilt University professor, Debra Coleman Jeter has published fiction and nonfiction in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a Christian Woman short story competition, and her nonfiction book “Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson”: Tales of a Young Actor was a finalist in the 2007 USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, and captured several international awards. She lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband.
Connect with Debra:
Website and Blog: www.debracolemanjeter.com
The trailer: https://vimeo.com/50187275
Debra Jeter’s debut novel, The Ticket, is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets. Check out the book trailer at: https://vimeo.com/50187275
Tray Dunaway longs to be part of the popular set at school, but she's growing too fast and her clothes no longer fit right. When she wears Gram's hand-sewn clothes to school, the kids make fun of her tall, boney appearance. Tray's luck improves when Pee Wee Johnson, a down-and-out friend of her father's, buys two lottery tickets and gives one to Mr. Dunaway as a thank-you for driving him to Hazard, Illinois. When her father's ticket turns out to be the winner, Johnson demands his cut of the proceeds, but Tray's dad refuses. What seems like a stroke of good fortune suddenly becomes a disturbing turn of events as Johnson threatens to cause problems for the family and Tray.
You may purchase The Ticket at Amazon