We’re not used to considering ourselves as the stumbling block. It seems unnatural for us to think that we may be in the way of God doing His work in or through us. After all, He has all the power. If something doesn’t come to pass then it probably has to do with Him, not with me. What if God does want to do something but we just don’t give Him a chance?
For quite some time I’ve been looking at various miracles recorded in the bible, trying to find a common thread that runs through them. Whether it is something God did in the Old Testament or a miracle from the New – I’ve noticed a very simple, yet lifestyle changing commonality:
Things happened when the people were vulnerable and had faith.
His CV didn’t look particularly well. He had only one item to list under Prior Occupation, the exact same item under Experience and to make the matters worse – it did take him a while to pick up any new training material and apply it. See, he was just a simple man – a nobody. An anybody. You couldn’t find them more ordinary than him. I bet if we sat down and compared ourselves against him, you and I would have far more to boast about. Our CVs would most definitely beat his (by far). How could a raw and potentially rude, uneducated fisherman trump us?
Apostle Peter was extremely underqualified. Many of the other disciples were too and that’s exactly the point. By any standards, today’s or during their time they were supposed to pathetically fail. But they didn’t. Peter was extremely impulsive, very quick to speak and a massive risk taker. Stuff you wouldn’t want to appear on your job application nowadays. Yet he got the job, the promotion, the bonuses and the retirement.
Have you ever seen a lightning bolt hit the ground in the darkness of the night and in the middle of a storm? Ignore the frightening effect of the sound and any fear of being hit by it. Focus just on the revealing nature of the light… It’s pitch dark outside but you’re now able to see as if it were a clear day. Only for a moment, though. And you’ve got to be paying attention otherwise it’s so easy to miss.
I have moments of faith that are very similar. My guess is that you have them too. They’re the brief times in our otherwise regular daily life when you overcome the gap of fear and are able to see far beyond the now. The moments when you realize that “I can take this step and will be O.K. after it” because you’ve just encountered God and He confirmed it. The darkness before you is no longer impenetrable.
It’s a very special thing – the truth. I realize that I’ve often not appreciated all of its power. Looking back at many of my conversations with other believers, I see that others have underestimated the power of the truth, as well. I see that it’s a more wide-spread problem that one might think at first.
What am I on about… Well, it began with the question – Do I really need to prove the truth when I talk about my faith with non-believers? This has always bothered me, but over the years of my Christian life I’ve continually been taught how to defend the truth. So I presumed that the truth needs to be defended, proven, protected. Well, it doesn’t. The truth remains what it is independently of one’s choice to fight against it or to rejoice with it.
If it weren’t for Hebrews 11:1, perhaps the case of blind Bartimaeus would be most fitting. How much further could it get than a blind man’s hope for being able to see.
The Bible says that Bartimaeus was doing the regular daily “exercise” – sitting at the city gates and relying on the pilgrims’ mercy for his dinner. There must have been a decent amount of dust on his clothes… over his body… And the heat certainly couldn’t have made his situation any better. But what else could he do? He’s an outcast after all – a cast out one.
But Bartimaeus isn’t just any outcast. Not just any blind guy. He isn’t just any beggar either. Bartimaeus is a believer, but not just any – a true one he is. The Bible says he heard Jesus approaching and began to shout – perhaps a usual picture given the popularity of the Lord. He was an emerging star for many of his time. The picture becomes unusual when a minute goes by and blind Bartimaeus is still shouting. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Some from the crowd tried to shut him, but apparently whatever he had lost with his sight had now turned into a voice amplifier.