My thoughts are drawn to a number of years ago (2009) when I heard the news. George Tiller (the killer) had just been shot and killed. I was on the edge of my seat, searching the internet with an odd form of excitement. “Wow, isn’t this great…Tiller finally got what was coming to him” I thought. As I was basking in this excitement, the conviction of the Holy Spirit set in. Tiller was murdered and I was rejoicing in that murder. Never mind the fact that Tiller was about as despicable as a human being could be. Never mind the fact that he will never be able to murder another unborn child (to which I praise God). All of this is of course, true. However, Tiller was still made in the image of God and had his life taken from him in the same fashion that he had used so many times before on the pre-born. He was a murderer and he was murdered (although, I must also add that I am indeed glad that Tiller is dead – he will never be able to perform his sick “art” on another child and for that I am grateful) and I had no right to bask in the fall of another. Its helpful to remember here that, if it were not for the grace of God, you could have been a Tiller as well, or a Hitler, and so could I (its all about G-R-A-C-E). As the Book of Proverbs wisely tells us; “
Proverbs 24:17-18: Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
Fast forward to today. The news came to me a few hours ago that Harold Camping has suffered a stroke and his speech has been affected. My thoughts are racing about the sovereignty of God in all of this. Did God strike Camping because of his distortion of the Biblical text? Did God strike Camping because of his attacks on the body of Christ, the Church? Did God strike Camping because he has left a path of ruined lives in the wake of his latest failed prophetic utterance? It’s easy to answer the first portion of this, because, it was indeed God who struck Mr. Camping. He is the author of history and all things are controlled by Him (Eph. 1:11) and for His glory. However, the second part of this is not so easy. Why? Because we are not privy to the secret council of God. Now, its true that the Lord promises destruction to those who are opposed to Him. However, it is not our job or place to look at individual examples of suffering and proclaim that the Lord’s judgment is upon a certain individual. For all we know, this could be the very means that the Lord is using to bring Mr. Camping to Himself…and I pray this is so because Camping, like Tiller, is made in the image of God. I suggest we heed the wise words of John Calvin on this issue, as noted below;
The discussion of Predestination—a subject of itself rather intricate—is made very perplexed, and therefore dangerous, by human curiosity, which no barriers can restrain from wandering into forbidden labyrinths, and from soaring beyond its sphere, as if determined to leave none of the Divine secrets unscrutinized or unexplored . . . First, then, let them remember that when they inquire into Predestination, they penetrate into the inmost recesses of divine wisdom, where the careless and confident intruder will obtain no satisfaction to his curiosity . . . For we know that when we have exceeded the limits of the word, we shall get into a devious and irksome course, in which errors, slips, and falls will be inevitable. Let us then, in the first place bear in mind, that to desire any more knowledge of Predestination than that which is unfolded in the Word of God, indicates as great folly as to wish to walk through impassible roads, or to see in the dark. Nor let us be ashamed to be ignorant of some things relative to a subject in which there is a kind of learned ignorance. (Calvin, John. The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Chapter XXI: sect. I,II.)