And I saw, in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, . . . Rev 5:6.
Think how shocking these images might have been to the first readers of this book. God is portrayed in Revelation 4-5 as the all-powerful Creator. It seems that He can do anything He wants. But when a seemingly insurmountable problem arises (Rev 5:1-4), the solution is a stunner! God solves the greatest problem in the universe through a slaughtered Lamb!
Why doesn’t an all-powerful God solve problems through power? Why doesn’t He just MAKE things happen? Why does He take such a huge risk by sending His Son to this earth, knowing that He will be rejected and brutally murdered? Because good things happen when risks are taken. The path may be harder or more dangerous than other options, but the result is worth the risk.
I think, for example, about how different my childhood was than it is for children today. I wonder sometimes how my friends and I survived. We rode happily in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Some of my happiest memories involve riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day. In those days baby cribs were painted with bright-colored, lead-based paint. We often chewed on the bars of the crib, enjoying the paint. In those days there was no child-proof packaging on medicine bottles or anything else that could possibly hurt children (I prefer calling it “adult-proof” packaging since my children open such things just fine, while I tend to struggle).
I rode my bike all over town without a helmet on. I drank city water from a garden hose instead of purified water from the grocery store. My friends and I escaped parental supervision all day in summers by simply leaving home in the morning and playing all day at the park or sometimes riding all over New York City on the subways. No one was able to reach us all day. With spare change from my allowance I would sometimes buy donuts and sugar-saturated soft drinks, but I never gained weight, I was always outside playing. We learned to confront bullies with no adults to protect us.
You may be shocked at some of the risks that my friends and I took, but my generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem solvers the world has ever seen. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it. While some of the changes in today’s world are good, character is developed when we take risks. In fact, every relationship is a risk, but there’s no other way to live a rich and rewarding life. I somehow think God knew that when He sent Jesus to redeem us back to Himself.