Rolling the Dice
By Anthony Casperson
This past week, I watched episode 71 of Critical Role on Geek and Sundry’s website. (Yes, minor spoilers for the episode follow.) During the episode, the adventurers Vox Machina battled an ancient white dragon. In her first turn during the battle, the person who plays the gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot calls upon her in-game deity for divine intervention. Rolling the dice to see if it would work. No one expected it to happen.
The chances were so slim, but there for the first time in over 3 years of playing, the dice fell in such a way that the divine intervention came. Having a need to defeat the dragon, the shape of the intervention came in the form of a giant fist from the heavens. Crushing the great beast to the ground, a large amount of damage dealt to it. Everyone was amazed at the fact that the character’s deity actually came around and helped.
But how often do we act like God works similarly? We keep asking for help, for aid, and maybe, just maybe, God might just lower himself to act. We act like there’s some cosmic RNG that just wants to screw us by rolling poorly. As if God doesn’t want to be there for us and help.
Oh, sure we aren’t likely to state those thoughts directly. We’ll talk about God being loving and wanting to reveal himself in our lives, but when we really need him, we start warming up the dice to roll for it. And that’s if we even think that God gives us a chance at the help. But that whole line of thinking is incorrect. God wants to reveal himself in our lives. He wants to speak to us. And he does it in the way we need him to.
Also, this past week, I listened to a sermon that made reference to 1 Kings 19. In this passage, Elijah, the great prophet of God had been feeling depressed. He went out to the wilderness hoping to die, but God made an angel bring Elijah food to keep up his strength. Then God tells Elijah to go to Mt Horeb because he wants to reveal himself to the prophet.
There, we have the great scene of there being a great wind, but God was not in the wind. An earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. A fire, but God was not in the fire. But then a still, small voice came, the voice of God. It’s normally here that bible teachers apply the passage to say that God wants to communicate with us, but we have too many distractions keeping us from hearing the voice of God.
But I can’t help but see that there’s more in this event than what we like to talk. Mostly that God wants to reveal himself and communicate with us through the way that we most need.
Look at the events at that mountain in 1 Kings 19. Elijah begins to vent to God, revealing that he feels all alone as servant of God. Everyone else has either fallen to false gods or fallen by the sword of the King of Israel and his wife.
So, God needs to reassure and give hope to the depressed prophet. A torrent of wind, an earthquake, and a fire later, God reveals himself to Elijah. As a loving and close friend. The prophet didn’t need to be shown or reminded of God’s power.
If Elijah needed to be reminded that the Spirit of God moves where he wills, God might have revealed himself in the wind. If Elijah needed to be reminded that the wicked will be judged, God might have revealed himself in the earthquake. If Elijah needed to be reminded that God’s people are purified through trials and struggles, God might have revealed himself in the fire.
But what Elijah needed was to be reminded that he was not alone in this calling that God had for him. So the mighty God of the universe gets up-close and personal with prophet. Like a loving friend, God pulls Elijah close and whispers to him. The prophet didn’t need to be yelled at. He didn’t need a mighty voice, he needed a whisper that cut to the heart of his depression.
“Elijah, you are not alone. Not only do you have me, but I will reveal to you allies.” And so, he tells Elijah to anoint some kings (one of whom will replace the king that seeks to kill him). And he’s also to anoint a replacement to train. “And if that’s not enough, Elijah, there are at least 7,000 who have not bent the knee to the false gods that Israel has fallen to.”
God wants to move in our lives and reveal himself to us. And he does so in the way that we need. It might not be the way that we want, but the way we need. And it’s not dependant on some dice roll as to whether or not he will reveal himself.
Do you need God to reveal himself in mighty power? Do you need him to whisper the truth amidst the noise of the world? Or do you need him feed your soul the bread of life? Regardless, we followers of Jesus have an intercessor in Jesus who will seek for our best interest. No dice roll needed.