Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Settling for less

I wonder sometimes what I could have that I don't.

Not in the material sense--in the spiritual sense. Here are some of the verses prompting my thinking:

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds
and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as
he passed by. (Acts 5:15)

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,
but no one could heal her. She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of
his cloak
, and immediately her bleeding stopped. (Luke 8:43-44)

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next
morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord,
what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don't be afraid," the prophet
answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with
them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the
LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses
and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)

I was watching the deaf in our church service fluidly sign along to a gripping song speaking of God's majesty in the throne room of heaven. It was moving to me that in the future, when we sang those words again--"Holy, holy, holy...worthy is the Lamb who was slain"--in that actual throne room, those people would be able to hear it, and all of our imperfect voices would find perfection. God's presence alone could change us like that, even if it didn't take place following our deaths. That thought reminded me of C.S. Lewis' stunning allegory in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when spring comes after a never-ending winter simply because Aslan (the Christ figure) is on the move.

And in Matthew 28, He says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." I have a friend who shared sheepishly that, though it sounds really hokey, she's been convicted about taking Christ's authority over things--even things like malfunctioning lawnmowers or overflowing drains or her kids' sickness--and has been amazed by the results.

This is not to say that things arighted physically are greater than a healed heart. When Jesus first heals the man who was lowered through the roof, He first forgives his sins:
"Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and
walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth
to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat
and go home." And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this,
they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such
authority to men. (Matthew 9:5-7)

I have seen God do great and marvelous things! But I wonder if somehow I've bought into a more anemic form of Christianity than God intended. I wonder if with my affluence, maybe even the way I "do church," is settling for less than the wonder, the supernatural power that God has waiting. What "mud pies" am I settling for when I could have a holiday at the beach? Makes me wonder how that affects what God really would have for me, or even how it affects my witness.

I'd love your thoughts on this.

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