Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Signs, Wonders, and Child-Like Faith

Well it seems to be birthday season, Mercedes just had one and so did I and Patrick is next, striking a few memories of some wild things the Lord has done:

One year we had just come back from a mission trip and we were in that “cleaned-out” state from travel expenses and had literally no cash on hand.

In fact, I looked in my wallet and was thinking: “Well, no cash will make for an interesting birthday—I guess.”

We decided to head out on our bikes and go and do a bit of riding which is a relatively cost-free thing to do.

I just blurted out a little prayer on the way out the door: “Lord it would sure be nice to have a bit of money here to be able to do a few things today.”

That was one of those quick little prayers you say and then forget you even said it a few minutes later.

We headed out on the bikes and were cruising down this little ocean road when I spotted an old familiar face from way back from surfing and other things. He was standing in front of an elaborate bay front house with a “For Sale” sign in front of it.

I cruised over and after a few expressions to each other of what a blast from the past this chance meeting was, we each shared a bit of what we were doing lately.

This old friend had been doing real estate and seemingly doing very well, thank you! I asked who owned this palace he was currently representing and found out it was that of a popular Christian singer. “Looks like ‘Praise Pays’, eh?” I said as I checked out the elaborate marble and tile work on the place he was selling.

We chatted a bit and then he went inside his styling little car and came back and handed me a brochure from his real estate firm and said: “Make sure and take a look through this brochure later – don’t forget!” “Well, I’m definitely not in the market for real estate but sure, I’ll take a look.”

A little further on after riding our bikes for a bit we stopped to take a break and I decided to take a look at his brochure. We were blown away to find that five crisp and brand new 100-dollar bills had been tucked inside with a little note to us.

Wow! That will buy some lunch at least – ha ha! I was completely floored. What a miracle of provision. I hadn’t mentioned a word about our finances and was just chatting about surfing and other stuff with this old friend. Furthermore, I hadn’t mentioned it was my birthday and he had no way of knowing that fact.

However, God knew and heard my quick little prayer, a prayer that was just so quick and brief that in our humanness we sometime wonder if it is enough. That’s when the Lord spoke this Scripture to me:

Matthew 6:7-8

When you pray, do not use a lot of repetitious, meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that God will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him.

So often, we think that in order to get God to hear us we have to bend down on our knees praying so hard, loud, and long, until our knees bleed and our voices go hoarse, or that we have to fast until we are so pale and anemic that we look like we need a blood transfusion. And what is it anyways with all these people who want to tell everyone how much they fast all the time, disobeying Jesus’ clear command not to tell others when you are fasting?

Jesus makes it very clear that such an approach is born out of a clearly pagan ideal, which actually portrays a lack of faith in God as a loving Father. So often, there is a failure to understand the finished work of Christ and know that Jesus, by His blood, has brought us into a “New Covenant” whereby we stand holy, righteous, accepted, and adopted as our Abba Father’s kids, all by what Jesus did for us on the cross. The understanding that Jesus did it all for us on the cross gives all the glory to Christ, rather than to us fallen depraved humans. We so often want to think that we can earn something because we fasted enough or prayed loud and long enough, and thus want to boast in ourselves rather than in Christ who did it all for us.

It is such a comfort to know that Christ did the work for us on the cross and we are accepted and beloved by the Father because of what Jesus did and that we can approach God with the confidence of a child that says, “Hey Abba Father, I need…”

He often will amaze us with signs and wonders that blow our minds when we just come with that simple-child like faith!

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