Prayer for the week of January 14–Just Checking, Lord.On Jan 14, 2013 Prayer Closet No Comments Tags: Prayer
I was thinking about the children of Israel. They were supernaturally released from bondage in Egypt, saw God part the Red Sea, saw their enemy’s army destroyed—both horse and rider, and saw God’s Spirit descend upon the mountain while Moses received the Commandments.
And then they decided to create a golden cow to worship.
How much more proof of a living God did they need than what they were already given? Why did they have to have something to see, to touch, and something created by their own hands? It seems a deplorable lack of faith. I hope I’m a better Christian than that.
If a Christian is someone who has perfect faith and who never doubts and never questions, then I suppose John the Baptist doesn’t make the cut. In prison for his faith, for preaching and preparing the way of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one, or do we look for another?” Seems like if you weren’t totally sure, ya wouldn’t have risked your neck scolding Herod and getting yourself locked away. It was as if John was saying to Jesus, “Let me just check one more time before I lose my life for You. I just want to make sure. Please reassure me that You are really the one.” I bet he was hoping Jesus would understand, being a carpenter and all. You know what carpenters say, “Measure twice, cut once.”
If a Christian is one who never asks for proof, then I suppose Jesus’ own disciple Thomas doesn’t count. He didn’t believe Jesus was alive until Jesus showed up and said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
I don’t sense that Jesus was at all scolding Thomas. Just offering the proof Thomas needed, ‘cause Jesus loved Thomas, and I hear it in such a loving way. Like when we are on a long trip and I want the children to sleep on the way. Sometimes they seem almost doubtful, as if they might fall asleep and we won’t really arrive at the snow or at Papa’s house. Can a child take it on faith that when they wake up they won’t be back home? I reassure them, “I need you to take a nap. Everyone close your eyes. When you wake up we will be there. Please trust Mommy.”
I find two things very comforting. One, that when my faith wavers I am in good company. And secondly, the fact that I doubt doesn’t send me away from Jesus’ side or cause Jesus to shake His head in dismay and say, “I think I made a wrong choice in choosing her as my disciple.” In the case of Thomas it was exactly the opposite. The question drew Jesus closer with an offer to touch and experience His reality.
We are invited by Jesus’ Himself to not just have faith, but to experience Him for ourselves.
All these thoughts have been recently inspired by a song by a friend, Flo. Part of it goes: “But who’s to say I wouldn’t pour all of my gold into the fire, just so that I could have God that my eyes could behold? And who’s to say I wouldn’t reach into your side if I had been there, just so that I could feel the wound and know that you are real?”
The whole business of the Christian life, I think, can be boiled down to two things: Experiencing the reality of God for ourselves and learning to trust Him.
So, Lord….would You invade our lives? Would You show us You are real? Can we touch Your side? Can we see Your face? Will You draw us near? You know we are busy and distracted and often doubtful. But, we hope. And hope does not disappoint because Your love has been liberally poured out into us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) We want to experience Your reality and learn to trust You more. Amen.