Friday, August 14, 2015

Stepping out on a limb

As little kids in Sunday school hearing all the powerful stories of fire from heaven, seas opening, lepers being healed and the sun standing still, we're filled with expectation to see the impossible.  

Jesus went around healing everybody who asked — He never said no!  Sickness and death were bad, health and life were good, and since God was good, He was on the side of health and life.  It was so clear-cut for us as kids, what happened to us as we grew up? 

What happened is that “real life” teaches us that raw faith that risks it all, is the same thing as being irresponsible and delusional.  God hasn’t changed, but our view of Him has become so jaded and skeptical, that we now just pray the safe prayer of “Let your will be done.”  Not only are we skeptical, but we’re comfortable.  We have the medical field to rely on, or legal counsel, or professional experts — all of which truly is a blessing — but because we hold all of them in such high regard, we’re almost ashamed to believe in anything above and beyond what they say.  Have you ever asked for prayer for a sickness, then treated it as a form of emotional support?  Most people do.  Did you really believe that the armies of heaven were moving in power through that prayer?  Most people don’t.   Even those who want to believe have a hard time shaking their doubts.

It all comes down to how we view God’s character.  The devil has worked hard to create a mysterious image of God that is supposedly so good and so profound that He will stand back and doom us to suffering for our own benefit.  He’ll passively watch us beg and plead and cry for mercy and give us only crumbs, because somehow it makes us better people.  We feel worse, abandoned by God and afraid that we are being punished, but we have to accept the saying that “God works in mysterious ways…”  I’ve fallen for that one many times without realizing that I was looking at a twisted, false image of the true God.

Jesus said that if we look at Him, we’ll see the Father.  They are One — that means the down to earth, loving, compassionate, powerful and holy Jesus that was bent on undoing all the work of the devil in the lives of those who He encountered, is exactly who our Father in heaven is like.  He is willing — more than willing to heal, destroy curses, restore families, raise the dead and send fire from heaven to wipe out oppressive spirits.  Our job is to be aware of the false images that we fall for, and to quickly align our minds and hearts to believe in the God of the Bible, not of religious imaginations.  And then take the risk to step out on a limb and believe.

God understands if you struggle with doubts, just don’t give up that fight.  Be ready to take the risk and believe in the impossible.  He invites you to take up His light burden, which is denying your flesh and living by faith, and He promises that you will find rest for your soul.  The heavy weight of slavery to depression, sickness, fears and anything else can be lifted once you see Him for who He is, and learn to fight for your freedom by faith.  Is He willing?  Without a doubt.

And then a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, saying, “I will. Be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  (Matthew 8:2-3 MEV)

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