“God loves a rebel,” Stan Welch, one of my former Pastors, once told me. “He loves the angry, because that’s just a matter of misdirected passion. It’s the lethargic He has trouble with because it’s hard to light a fire under them.”
Even though he explained this to me over 30 years ago, I remember it because I’ve always been a rebel. It made me feel special to know God doesn’t just “put up with me,” but actually created me to be this way.
Rebels move mountains.
Rebels shake up the status quo.
Rebels inspire others by seeking out previously untraveled and untested avenues.
Washington and the founding fathers of America. Lincoln. Edison. Ford. The Wright Brothers. Gates and Jobs.
Even Jesus himself. The religious leaders of the day hated him. Of course, Jesus calling them “snakes” and “whitewashed tombstones,” and chasing people out of church with a whip didn’t exactly help matters.
Moses was a rebel. He killed a man whom he observed treating others cruelly. Yet God chose him to free His people from the bondage of slavery.
Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, was a rebel with a major attitude problem. We have record of him not only cursing and denying God, but getting angry and slicing some poor dude’s ear clean off.
Yet Jesus called him “the Rock,” upon which the first century church was built.
Reverend Doctor Patricia Berkram, or “Dr. Pat,” as I call her, worked in prison ministry before her recent retirement. She survived homelessness, an abusive relationship and much more, and went on to not only earn her ministerial credentials but her Doctorate in Bible and Theology. A college Bible study group exists within the stone walls of Montana State Prison because of her grit and fire.
The group was birthed from rejection, funnily enough. She wanted to help an indigent prisoner buy a college course, but was told this wasn’t allowed.
“We’ll just see about that,” Dr. Pat told the naysayers.
Six months later she not only purchased that first bible course, but a handful more for other prisoners. Today, several inmates are working hard and earning their Bachelor’s Degrees, simply because of her rebellious attitude, and refusal to take “no” for an answer.
So don’t let anyone lead you to believe God’s people are pushovers, wimps or weak. People aren’t chased out of temples with whips by pushovers. Wimps don’t free others from bondage. The weak don’t give birth to world-changing ideas, religious movements and nations.
It takes a rebel to buck the establishment and swim upstream.
We shake our clenched fists in the face of evil and tell the devil himself, “You may win this battle, but Jesus has already won the war. Do what you want to us, but we will never quit.”
Yeah, God loves a rebel. So if that’s you, I’d like to say, “Welcome to the club.”