With No Thought Godward
You have met them The organized. The diligent. The ambitious. The curious. The studious. The admired. The connected. The energetic. The well-spoken. The persevering. The well diversified. The prosperous. The successful.
In any conversation with such people the above attributes will become evident before very long. Society applauds them. It will be apparent that they believe that they have found THE FORMULA. They simply have remained loyal to it. They dare not lose their momentum. Whatever the social polish, or feigned humility, they are frighteningly proud, unappreciative and self-assured.
The conversation will soon reveal that they have no understanding or compassion for the struggling ones. Such people have simply missed THE FORMULA because they are too lazy, timid or listless. "Why, it only takes cautious planning and nose to the grindstone, and the blessings will come. It may be a strain for a short while, but then come the rewards."
They talk about their path and perhaps some valued friend or mentor along the way; perhaps they see an element of good luck, but they will never acknowledge the long-suffering or mercy or keeping care of God. The plague missed their door. The famine was averted. The freeway disaster was twenty minutes after they passed through. The child's illness was quickly medicated away. The college scores were excellent. The business prospects bought the sales pitch.
If one were to tell them that "they need to get right with God", they would probably chuckle. After a second or third comment the hostility would begin to show. With only slight variation the response would soon become, "No, don't take me there. To that crutch for losers and weaklings and dreamers. To religion."
And all the while, as Edwards once said, 'they are dangling by a spider's thread, over the flames of woeful judgment, held only by the hand of a righteous and patient God whose holiness they have incensed by consistent neglect, distrust or contempt.'
His mercy may be manifested at some point by affliction or set-back or disaster which they cannot understand according to THE FORMULA. Or perhaps not. He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. No one cuts deals with Him.
A look at Solomon's quandaries in the Book of Ecclesiastes would be well advised.