What I Cannot SeeChristianity is scoffed at and scorned by much of our “enlightened” American culture – the same society that is confused about sexuality, morality, and even the sanctity of human life at the most vulnerable level. This is not surprising. Combine the need to justify one’s departure from God’s ways with the failings of His representative body here on earth, and contempt is to be expected. Confusion is understandable and not surprising. As believers we cringe at some of the things our brothers and sisters do, the way our leaders behave, and the reputation we bear – often through no fault of our own. But we must remain absolutely unequivocally clear about Who we are following.
Consider one follower of Jesus back in the day. He saw Jesus raise the dead, heal the lepers, restore sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, cure cripples, give good news of hope to those in need, and even exercise authority over the powers of darkness. Jesus described this man as the greatest person to have ever lived. And John, after seeing all this had a question: ‘Are you the one who was to come, or are we to look for someone else?’ Perhaps we too at times question the validity of our profession. There is much warfare against believing, but the stakes are high, not only for our souls but for those we have an opportunity to influence for good.
The trend seems to be to question the accuracy of the Scripture, at least in part because of inaccurate handling of it by those who wield it for their own promotion as God’s ministers. But remember Satan’s first words : ”Has God said…?” Doubt about the veracity of the Word is a primary weapon of darkness. Jesus Himself said that not a jot or tittle of His Word would pass away, although everything we know to be real – heaven and earth – will. That should give us pause before we dismiss the validity of the Bible, insisting that we understand more than those who scoured the letters and documents, even devoting their entire lives to investigating its accuracy. Or dismissing it because we can’t figure out some perplexing concepts and have trouble reconciling the God of the Old Testament with Jesus.
We can also be like John, who saw all the works of Jesus in those around him, and still wondered. We who have believed have had experiences in our own lives of God’s grace and kindness, mercy and compassion and have seen it in others. But we, like those who saw the waters of the Red Sea stand up in a heap so they could safely pass, just days later had serious doubts and questioned God’s goodness. We look around and see evil winning, human suffering, and we wonder. We question. We equivocate and back away from Him. It takes different forms – we quit ‘going to church’ (after all God’s people are a bit weird and embarrassing), we stop reading His Word and praying (too religious), we succumb to the replacements we have found for the peace of God in our hearts, or we may just lead good moral lives indifferent to Jesus. We allow our hearts to be offended, but we may disguise it so we don’t have to admit that to God. We just walk away from a distasteful dilemma of figuring out and living out our faith. Like John, we ask “is there someone else to follow’?
Many have walked away. Young people who are disgusted by the hypocrisy and formalism of what they see as church have left Jesus for more a palatable religious experience. Many (often older) just go through the motions, doing the bare essentials of what they deem necessary to be called a Christian, and then live for the world. They can excuse themselves by pointing out the flaws and failings of “Christianity”. That’s seems reasonable, and skepticism is deemed intellectually superior. Perpetual skepticism, however, is disingenuous. Why not just admit you don’t want to yield to Jesus and His kingdom values? Who is the hypocrite here?
Eventually uncertainty will be erased. The big concerns will be mere trivialities. What will they say to Jesus when they meet Him face to face – which is the undeniable result of this existence on earth? When He reminds them that His friends were those who were social misfits, religious failures, and the losers of His day? When He points to His unpopularity with the socially acceptable and the politically correct? When He shows them the bottomless pit of their own hypocrisy, smallness and failure? When they find out without a shadow of a doubt that they are the biggest loser of all? It’s better to find that out now and live for the One Who heals. When we meet Him it will be too late to demonstrate our faith and trust in His love, because then it will be undeniable – even to His enemies. This is our chance, right now, in a hostile environment, to choose to set aside our doubts and fears and to determine to learn Him, love Him, follow Him. The Pharisees and experts of the law in Jesus’ day fancied themselves superior, and ‘frustrated God’s purpose for them”. Let’s not follow in their haughty footsteps. Jesus told John’s followers when they asked their question about His identity “Happy is the man who never loses his faith in me.” Let us be those happy salt souls!!
A READER BONUS – MUSICAL PRAYER Click the link below