Hesitation. A fleeting moment. That is what our sin usually looks like. It’s not some flamboyant, disastrous transgression, obvious to the entire watching world. It’s silence. We sit. The quiet voice of the Lord urges us to speak. But we’re afraid. With hammering hearts, we remain silent, lips locked. That is what my sin looked like recently.

A crowded plane packed with holiday travelers. Every seat was filled—every seatmate a divine appointment. I knew it. I had prayed. The young school counselor from Kansas, a lapsed Catholic, was regaling me with her struggles of faith.

Then she dropped the bomb, the crux of her doubts:  the deity of Christ.

Her amassed, hard-heart-inducing ammunition hitting the bull’s-eye of our conversation took me by surprise. She had peeled back the mask. Into our conversation, she dropped an allusion to ancient pagan mythology, comparing the story of the immaculate conception of Christ to this legendary tale:

“…like Zeus’ golden rain,” she said. “I just can’t believe it.”

Eyes ! (Youth from Antikythera!)

Dimitris Agelakis via Compfight

This oblique mention of a Greek myth concerning the origins of Perseus, a mythic hero and founder of Mycenae, suspiciously conceived when Zeus rained “liquid gold” upon an imprisoned Danae in order to impregnate her, sent my brain reeling through my studies of ancient history. It took me a moment to understand what this young doubter, now turned confessor, was saying.

She questioned the deity of Christ because of the duplication of like stories in ancient pagan mythology. Ah, the Greeks!

From the time in the Garden of Eden when Satan heard that the seed of the woman would crush his head, he filled primeval legends with various gods impregnating or conceiving illustrious personages. If a usurper of old sought prestige in order to prop up his claim to a throne, all he had to do was mention that he was the offspring of one or another god or goddess. In looking back on an ancestor’s life, his offspring could also claim this story on his behalf, thus benefitting their own claims. These stories were rife. It worked for Julius Caesar.

There were tales of mythological resurrections and of important personages being placed into baskets as infants to float away in rivers a la Moses. Some of these stories copied important events, such as Moses’ life story, to give clout to their claims to leadership; but others of these tales, such as the conception and resurrection stories that wend their way through ancient mythology, were Satanic attempts to confuse and warp future events.

Christ would indeed be immaculately conceived by a virgin, and he would indeed rise from the dead. And doing so, he would crush Satan’s head. Unable to stop these events, Satan attempted to make them seem as if they were just another story, a myth.

He is crafty—the father of lies. Corrupt the actual event before it happens by tempering it with legends and mythological lies—deadly tactic.

Tick tock went the clock.

Keeping An Eye On Time

Ian Foss via Compfight

My brain had finally landed on her point. How could the immaculate conception of Christ be true, she asked, since all these other fables existed? As I consider her dilemma now, my arguments are ordered:

  • the very way God revealed the events to Joseph and Mary separately,
  • the reactions of all the people involved,
  • the affirmed character of the people chosen to nurture Jesus to adulthood,
  • the attestation of Scripture and eyewitnesses,
  • the fulfillment of numerous prophecies entirely outside the control of those involved,
  • the knowledge of Elizabeth though removed by many miles,
  • the character of the Person thus conceived, etc.

But when the young woman on the plane revealed her deepest doubt, these arguments were not neatly in order. However, they didn’t need to be. The Lord would supply the words, and I had studied this subject. I was prepared.

Still, I sat. Silently.

My pride got in the way. And that was the problem. I relied on myself.

I wanted to have it all organized in my mind before I spoke. I didn’t want to appear to be ill-informed, staggering into this obscure conversation without my facts straight. What would she think of me? I wanted to seem to be knowledgeable. Cool.

Tick tock.

Take my hand! Come away from the light.

Tony Seneadza via Compfight

She had continued speaking as I considered, and now she swept the conversation in a new direction. I made feeble attempts to grab it back; but it couldn’t be recaptured. My opportunity fled before me. I watched its back as it ran away. My heart was crushed.

Oh Lord! Forgive me! I’ve done it again. I’ve denied you by my silence.

Even today, as I recall my pride, my failure to speak, and my silent denial of my Lord, this recollection hurts. I had forgotten that our victories are not dependent on ourselves or our perfect recollection of Greek mythology—they are from the Lord. But first, we must give up our pride and our fear, trust in the Lord for the victory, and cry out to him for help. We have to remember that he is always present.

Silence is a bad thing at the wrong time. We must humble ourselves, trust the Lord to give us the words, open our mouths, and speak up.

Tick tock.

Can you trust Jesus for the words?

 

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