They say that seeing is believing. We like to see the results of the things we hold to be true. When we flip a light switch, we don’t see the electron running through the wires inside the wall, but we see the light come on, so we believe that the electrons are there. Just because we don’t see a result doesn’t mean that something isn’t happening. A light bulb may be burned out, but the electrons are still in the wire. So it is with our prayers. We want to see the results of our prayers and often do, but there are times when we pray and pray with nothing seeming to happen. We always look at the outward results when our Lord begins His work on the inside. The Lord’s greatest miracles are those of turning hearts to Him, of forgiving sins, of healing deep and long held hurts. These will be seen later on in changed lives, but there is so much happening that is unseen. It is why Jesus encourages us to continue to pray and not lose heart. He further said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” God does love you, care about you, and is working for your good far beyond anything your eyes presently see.
Some people have trouble believing in something that they can’t see, or can’t apprehend with their physical senses. Yet we do it all the time. For example, many people have TV service by satellite today. 250 plus channels! Why anyone needs that many is beyond me, but that’s not my point here. We look at the dish receiving antennas attached to many houses, and coming into those antennas are more that 250 simultaneous images. No one can see them, but they are there and we take them for granted. Physics can explain electro-magnetic wave propagation, but it is still beyond our five senses, yet we believe in it. We say we see the results of it on the TV screen, therefore it must be real. We see the results of it! But we also see the activity of our Lord all around us. Paul speaks to this saying, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”(Romans 1:20) God loves you. God is near to strengthen, care for, and to help. Jesus is the giver and the joy of life. All beyond our five senses, but very very real. You can believe it and trust it today.
I was playing with my 4 year old grandson on Saturday. At one point I had to stop him from doing something he wanted to do. He got upset, and went off pouting as he sometimes does. I tried to explain that I wasn’t scolding him, and I wasn’t angry with him. I was saying this for his good. If he did what he wanted to do he could be badly hurt. He really had difficulty understanding this and still wanted to do what he had been doing – but he didn’t. This is very much like the way some of God’s guidance strikes us. He provides a way of life that is for our good. This doesn’t always fit in with what we want to do. We may (or may not) conform to His will, but the desire is still in us to do our own thing. This is often our internal battle of wills. But if we are willing to trust our Lord who made us, and yield to His will, however hard that may be, we find that He really does have our best good at heart.
There are issues about people being open minded or close minded; willing to listen to other positions, or refusing to hear any other. Some Christians are accused of being closed minded fundamentalists in their condemnation of others, and there certainly are these, unfortunately. But the question is not how staunchly one holds to a position, but how he seeks to share that position. For Christians, the divinity of Christ, and salvation by faith in Him are central. These truths cannot be given up, and are worth dying for. But how we share them is of prime importance. They are first shared by a life that is lived in sacrificial service. It is only the love of Christ through us that will draw others to Him. It is being open to others, and allowing them to see that we care that will show them there is something better in Jesus. Christianity is a faith worth dying for, but more importantly it is a faith worth living to the fullest.
What is on your schedule for today? Maybe a series of routine tasks for work or home. Maybe more serious items that have caused worry and fear. Either way they are things we must face and deal with as best we can. But in the grace of our Lord God we know that we face nothing alone. That really is the point of yesterday’s message emphasizing that we are loved. God is with us. In the praise of our God Psalm 68 declares “ Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.
God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.”(vss.19-20) As any father knows they are never really separated from their children. What concerns the children concerns the father. God is our Father, and has more care for us than any earthly father. Our burdens are on His heart, and He is able to help. Whatever this day holds, whether routine or difficult, know that you are love and that the Lord is with you. Trust Him.
Small things are important. A woman came to Jesus asking for healing for her daughter. Her faith was such that she said she only needed a crumb size blessing from God and her daughter would be healed. Another time Jesus commended a poor widow for putting just two pennies in the offering box. And still another time He said that we only need faith the size of a tiny mustard seed to be able to do great things. In our bigger is better world, Jesus calls us to be faithful in the small things. We don’t need to yearn for more, or wish we could be better at something. We simply recognize that all we have is His. He gave it to us and we seek to use everything to honor Him. Jesus’ greatest example of faith, the faith that inherits the Kingdom, was a little child set in their midst. We take care of the small things, and God will see to the big ones.
People go to all kinds of lengths for excitement and challenges. A record has been set for the most bungy jumps is a short period of time, also for the number of back flips across a football field. Certainly not something I ever would have considered trying. Even so it highlight something in our nature that craves a challenge, that thrives on excitement, and that desires to be singled out for a good accomplishment. Being a part of the nature God created, these desires are not wrong. The problem with so much of mankind is that we seek fulfillment in the wrong places. The Lord offers us all of these in His service. If you read the Gospels, the life Jesus is offering His followers is a constant challenge. A life of faith comes with no guarantees for an easy time, and without any knowledge of what is ahead. We enter a walk with the Lord where His central instruction simply says “trust Me”. From here He takes us in directions we never dreamed, but if we are willing to follow His path we will hear the only commendation that really matters, “Well done good and faithful servant.”.
What does it mean to trust, especially to trust God? We say it all the time, but we usually have a back up plan in case God doesn’t come through the way we think He should. This is especially true in our affluent world. We solve many of our problems with money. We really don’t know what it means to have to pray for our next meal, as some Christian workers have had to do. Or pray for safety from hostile peoples. Truly trusting God is to be out on a limb with no way back. If God doesn’t help, we are lost. It is not a question that we have to be in poverty or danger to learn to trust God. Rather, we need to see Him as our single source of provision, strength, and hope in all situations of life. God is trustworthy. He has proven it time and again.
We like to think that we are capable of doing what needs to be done, and for the most part we are. We have talents and abilities. We work by something of a routine. We solve many problems as they come along in our days. However, as smoothly as things go along for a while, something always seems to crop up reminding us that we are not always in control. Be it a computer glitch, a sudden illness that puts one in the hospital, or even an unexpected death, things happen that we can’t change. The Lord, in His grace, uses these times to remind us to look beyond ourselves, check our priorities, set aside our pride, or a variety of other lessons aimed at focusing our attention upon Him for strength, wisdom, and guidance. No, we do not have the ultimate control of our lives. There is One far greater than we who does. And His nature is pure love and grace. Let’s depend upon Him.
We had the privilege yesterday of attending our grandson’s confirmation at his church. Confirmation is that time when a young person has the opportunity to affirm the vows his parents took for him when he was baptized as an infant. It is a serious time, and for those in attendance it is an important reminder of the seriousness of our own confession of the Christian faith. These young people had been instructed by their pastor for several years, and are then asked to stand before the congregation to confess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After being asked a series of questions about their belief they are asked one final question. “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” That becomes a question posed to all of us who profess faith in our Lord. It is especially true in an era where there have been more Christian martyrs than all previous centuries of the Church, and where even in our own country people have been asked to compromise their faith in order to continue their business. So confirmation is not just a service our young people go through. It is a challenge for all of us to rethink the depth and commitment to our own faith. Our relationship with the Lord Jesus is truly worth what ever the cost.