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The foolishness of God

A heartbreaking letter from a young girl to her older self is making the rounds on the internet. The letter isn’t heartbreaking because of it’s content, but rather because the twelve-year-old girl unexpectedly died and her parents found the letter while going through her belongings.

Taylor Smith sounds like a remarkable person and it’s easy to see why the letter has caught fire. She talks about her love of Doctor Who, even commanding that her older self to go watch it, “later, though. You have to finish reading your own words of wisdom.” She asked questions of herself, and gave herself some profound advice, “It’s been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad. That’s just how life works, and you have to go with it.”

However,  the way the various media outlets handle her deep trust in Jesus is so awkward, it would be funny in different circumstances. Buzzfeed, where I first saw the letter, described this particular part of the letter thusly, “Not to mention nerdy. Past Taylor wanted to make sure Doctor Who was still on the air. And if not at least wanted to know what number regeneration they ended on.”

Taylor Smith

What she wrote was, “[H]ow’s your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshiped, read the bible, or gone to serve the Lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person wrong! Now, have you gone on any more mission trips? Have you been out of the country yet? How about on a plane?” And then we get, “Is Doctor Who still on the air?”

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At the Federalist, Molly Hemingway asks, “Why is religion invisible to the media?”  And she certainly has a point, but that’s only part of it. It’s not only the media, and it’s not mainly religion, but specifically the gospel: Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again. This was not some “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” spiel. She didn’t just talk about the love of God, she spoke of the sacrifice of Jesus: beaten, tortured, mocked, and killed. This young lady boldly preached the gospel to herself, in a decidedly non-seeker sensitive manner.  I can see why a non-believing reporter might glide over that and hit the Who high points.

As Paul wrote:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. I Corinthians 1:18-25

But even though these reporters don’t know quite what to do with this amazing girl’s plain proclamation of the message of Jesus, they didn’t ignore it entirely. Her message has spread and is still spreading.  They may not know what to do with it or how to interpret it, but the message and the messenger created by that message still broke through because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

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