God’s Own Fool

I was listening to some “old school” music the other day by Michael Card (if you are under 35 you should look on Wikipedia if you are curious who he is).  The song that really got my attention is entitled, “God’s Own Fool”, speaking of Jesus.  Back in the day, I really loved the song but now some twenty+ years later, I found myself feeling a bit uncomfortable with the idea of equating the Lord with the word, fool.  Obviously the One who is wisdom incarnate is nobody’s fool.  Associating Jesus with a fool, as we know the definition, was not Card’s intent, and yet at one point, Jesus family members questioned his sanity. Don’t believe me?   “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21 NIV). How could anyone question God?  I would never dream of doing that (he wrote sarcastically).

Does God’s wisdom ever seem foolish?  Have you ever had an honest conversation with God where you found yourself informing the Lord of some facts about your life that seemed to escape His notice?  If you haven’t then you are either much more mature than I (a very distinct possibility) or you have not walked with God long enough to realize that He does not always function by our rules of engagement (Some of you are laughing right now…can we talk?!).

God must know me pretty well.  The first scripture verse I ever memorized was Proverbs 3:5,6…

” Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV84).

God knew I would need that one.  It seemed like a simple enough command to understand, however the execution of it I have found to be particularly difficult at times.  The whole “trust” and “lean not” connection seems to present the most challenges for me.  However, as I have diligently searched the scriptures over the years, I have found that I have some company among the faithful.  Is it possible that God is not listening to a bunch of us?  Is God is hard of hearing?  Or could it be the opposite?

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:20,21).

Jesus was a living paradox.  A paradox is defined by Merriam-Websters as, “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.”  He is called a “Lion” and a “Lamb”, a “King” and yet a “Servant”.  Seemingly contradictory yet altogether true.  His ways often defied logic and yet made sense to those living by the standards of another Kingdom.  I was reminded of Jesus paradoxical nature in his encounter with the man stricken with leprosy.  This poor soul had been an outcast of society due to the nature of his illness, a death sentence hanging over his head that was contagious to all who he came into contact with.  He pleads with Jesus to heal him and with one word, the man is delivered from this horrific affliction.  What does Jesus tell him to do next? “Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:  “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” (Mk 1:43,44 NIV84).  Tell no one?!?!  The man has set free from the death row of disease and he is supposed to be quiet?  How are you ever going to build a ministry that way?  Call the press, get the cameras, start a crusade, make this healer man king!!  But Jesus reply is simple, “Tell no one”.  What was He thinking?

Jesus was born to die.  He knew His mission.  Nothing was going to deter Him. When his friend Peter tried to tell Jesus that He would not have to die, Jesus called Peter, Satan.  Simply put, Jesus operated by a different set of standards than the world He came into.  And because His goal was to please His Father and obey His will, you and I now have a clear path to His Kingdom.

If you find yourself arguing with God today or just plain confused about where He is or if He is anywhere to be found in your circumstances, reflect on the words of this old song…”God’s Own Fool”…

Seems I’ve imagined Him all of my life
As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God’s Holy wisdom is foolish to men
He must have seemed out of His mind

For even His family said He was mad
And the priests said a demon’s to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong
And so we follow God’s own fool
For only the foolish can tell-
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well

So come lose your life for a carpenter’s son
For a madman who died for a dream
And you’ll have the faith His first followers had
And you’ll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to say you must know
Have the courage to say I believe
For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see
-Michael Card