Jewels cousin invited me to write a few devotionals for a high school class she teaches. This little devotion is the latest entry, the others are listed under the category “Faith in the Desert”. I pray you are blessed and challenged by my thoughts. dave
“How big is your God?”
Did you ever know someone with big faith, like nothing can rattle them, huge, gigantic faith? Think for a moment—we all know somebody like that. They personify positive attitude because no matter what life throws at them they trust God and even grow stronger through the trials. They have conversations like these. “Billy Bob… sorry, I heard your dishwasher broke—no worries, just savin’ water. And your freezer isn’t workin either—it’s ok I like fresh food. Your furnace is acting up too—it’s fine, we got jackets. Did your car really catch on fire?…yep, the Lord must want me to get in shape. Billy…you know a bird just took a dump on your sleeve…well, praise be to Jesus elephants don’t fly ’round here.” You know what I’m talking about; these people have huge unwavering faith. So how do we get that (minus the bird poop)? I assume if you’re actually listening, there is some piece of you that is interested in this type of faith. But where do we start? How about with an old holy dead guy. A.W. Tozer said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Did you catch that—the most important thing about you is your view of God.
You see, faith really just boils down to trust. And at the end of the day the size of your faith will always be closely related to your view of God. I know that was quite a few dots to connect in one sentence–so let me simplify. Faith is based on trust and your trust in God is dependent on perspective. Were you able to connect the dots? Good. I mean just think about it, it’s nearly impossible to trust or prioritize around something you think of as weak or insignificant. Most of us think of faith as some mystical hand-raising, song singing, emotional experience–it’s not. Faith is simply choosing to trust Christ. The word literally means to place your whole weight upon. As in placing all your hope in Christ, not your grades, looks, family pedigree or ministry. Just Jesus—nothing else. Our ability to trust Jesus depends on our perspective and understanding of who Christ is. Not, I’ll say it again NOT, who we want Him to be, but who He actually is.
Now this is where the problems arise, you see we all like to have a little bit of Jesus, but typically we like Him on our terms. Having a little bit of Jesus is nice, that way you can tote Him around in your bag and pull him out to help whenever you want. It’s like a little backpack Jesus. Now you won’t put it in those terms but really that’s what we act like. Yeah…a nice little Jesus, that can help us when we have a test, need a job or a date to prom. We can simply open up our Jesus box and let Him out. So simple isn’t it. This Jesus sound pretty good, he loves me and wants to help because He cares about me and wants me to be happy…right? It’s also quite convenient because since I keep him in a box I can just keep it closed at parties, while surfing the net, or when I’m alone with my boyfriend or girlfriend.
The only problem is, and this is a big problem, that isn’t the Jesus of the bible. Seriously, do you really think the God who split the Red Sea and then sustained 4 million Jews wandering the desert for forty years belongs in your Jesus box? I’m in the desert and trust me; there ain’t much out here. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead even after he “stinketh” (if you like the King James version). One comforting thing if you’ve read the Gospels is even His disciples sucked at understanding who Christ actually was. Only once did they seem to get it right (Matt 16:23) but that epiphany lasted just 7 verses until Peter was rebuked and called Satan. This wasn’t easy even for his closest friends. And while we’re on that note just think for a moment how freaky it would have been to be in a room with Jesus. Time and time again he made the religious leaders look like complete idiots because he knew their thoughts—how would this class go today if Ms. O knew each and everyone of your thoughts. Seriously, pause and let that terrifying idea sink in…this is the Savior we worship. Open your eyes and see Him for who He is…He is worthy of your trust. The Bible is very clear who Jesus is, that he claimed to be God, our Savior, not some healer, prophet or great example. God and man all rolled into one. That means he was either nuts, lying (quite well in fact, as 11 of the 12 disciples chose a brutal death over denying him), or He is our Lord. And, if He’s Lord, then He is Lord on His terms, not the terms I feel comfortable with.
God’s sovereignty and providence are hard and confusing but that doesn’t change reality. As a pediatrician, I have cared for numerous kids as they were dying, cried with them, held little bodies, felt pain, anger, frustration with them and their parents but that doesn’t change God. It could change me if I let pride or emotion cloud my perspective. Learning that Jesus doesn’t fit into our little boxes is terrifying and yet so freeing because I don’t have to play games or understand everything. I can live with heavenly purpose and know I’m chosen and forgiven. I can be transparent because I can’t surprise Him. My prayers don’t have to sound pretty, I can come with raw emotions and be open about my jacked up heart because He already knows everything and is waiting to walk with me through this season. In fact, that is how you get big faith, walking with Christ through your seasons and learning His promises are real and that He is worthy of our trust.
This week one of our convoys was hit by an IED; a soldier (just a 3 or 4 years older than you) was critically injured. Praise God he will live but sitting here tonight I wonder how big God was to him prior to that bomb going off. Did he know or trust Christ? I wonder if his view of God changed as he lay bleeding in the dirt. If he knew that God is trustworthy and sufficient for his pain and unspoken needs. Hebrews 13:8 states “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” God doesn’t change. But we must, our perspective needs radical adjustment to the reality of who Jesus is. So how do you get big faith? It is simple; get a biblical understanding of Jesus. Walk each day with Christ knowing and trusting Him as your Savior. It’s not rocket science, it’s a choice—so decide what kind of faith you want and start living on purpose.
— Choosing Joy thru Christ,
dave ayer Jeremiah 10:23