A former colleague of ours is very sick with cancer, in fact he's dying. He is a Christian. He is a Pastor. He belongs to a fellowship/denomination that has a rich history in healing. Many prayers have been prayed, many verses have been spoken, many admonitions and statements of faith have been proclaimed and yet his friends tell me.....he is dying. Several of his friends have asked us "Why aren't things adding up. I just don't understand."
A friend of mine is very sick, in fact she's dying. She is a Christian. She has Lou Gehrig's disease. Again, many prayers have been prayed, many verses have been spoken, many admonitions and statements of faith have been proclaimed and yet....she continues to grow worse.
A friend of mine died a few years ago. She was a hospice nurse, a Pastor's wife, and mother to an 18 month old child. Everyday she had the opportunity to camp outside of the devil's front door and rescue souls away from hell's hungry gates and yet, she died in the prime of life and in the heat of the battle. And I have to ask "Why?"
A young man, called by God to the mission field, went to Thailand as a missionary. After year's and year's of learning the language, he was finally ready to deliver his first sermon preached in their native tongue. On the way to church that morning he was struck by a truck and died along the side of the road leaving behind a waiting congregation, a grieving wife and a son to young too remember him.
Everywhere I go I hear questions from people concerning situations just like these. They are trying to find some understanding and comfort in a faith that seems to be telling them one thing and doing another. What ends up happening is that they come to the conclusion that God is sovereign which in their minds is equal to saying "Yes, I know God said this or that, but He can do whatever He wants." If this is true, then can we really believe anything He says? It's as if the serpent is once again whispering in their ears "has God said?" If I tell my children over and over again that I will get them new shoes and I never do, will they then believe me when I tell them that I will buy them new socks as well? Of course not. Yet, this is what a lot of people in Christian churches are being told to do.
Our Pastor is preaching about revival. He has shared all the wondrous things that God did during the great revivals of past years and has convinced me that yes, we do indeed need to be revived again! I yearn to walk into church and experience the power of God the way they did-the healings, the salvations, the miracles! If, as all the t.v. preachers are proclaiming, the church today is the best it's ever been, why don't we see the power of God working to an even greater extent than those our generation calls the "less enlightened ones" of history?
Years ago, during a trying time in my faith-walk, I said to God "if this is really all there is to Christianity, it wouldn't have lasted this long." And although in those years since God has proven to me that there is so, so, so much more, I think that I'm back to asking this question again, only on a different level. I think God has brought me to a place where I too am going to have to step out of Peter's boat and walk on the water and discover for myself that the water is solid beneath my feet because it is upheld by exactly what God says and means in His Word.
If Peter had stepped out of that boat based soley on what he knew of water, he would have sunk immediately and probably would have ended up drowning before Jesus could get to him. But Peter didn't step out based on what he knew about the nature and make-up of water. He stepped out on what he knew about the nature and reputation of Christ. His Word is completely trustworthy. Oh, yes, I have said that I believed this for as long as I've been a Christian. I've told others the same. I've declared it to saints and sinners alike but......is it working practically in my life? Do people look at my life and see God doing exactly what I say He can and will do?
As I've pondered these things the last few weeks, asking God for a true answer, not just one that makes me comfortable, not just one that will sound good in the ears of those who are asking me about these things, I am increasingly growing hungry for the truth, no matter how hard to swallow it may be.
For the last week, God has been answering that prayer through the story of the prodigal son.
To be continued.......