After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast. (John4:43-45)
You were born into a place where not only was the Prophet without honor in his own country but the Creator is unwelcome in His own creation. It occasionally brings me to tears that this is the backstory of the world you were born into. With his writing, your Pop is trying to convert these tears into a little wisdom. Would you lend me your ear, better yet, your heart – for 1329 more words?
Many read the Bible, then look at all that is bad in the world and in others, and pray that Jesus will come quickly because this world is without hope; it is accursed and slated for judgement. Then there will be a few who will read it and recognize the problem is first with them, that there is something in them dishonoring and resistant to God. This is the you that gave herself to God and this is the you that He now inhabits.
I pray you will be among the growing few who can embrace the core idea that God is reconciling all things, including you, to Himself and, as far as it concerns you, the reconciliation must begin, and be sustained by His grace, in your own heart. My prayer is that you will be one of the growing few who learn to welcome, honor and love Him and see that, with Christ in you, there is exceedingly great hope.
I know you opened your heart and invited Jesus in when you were seven (the year of this writing). What a precious day in your life. What a powerful day in the Kingdom of God! I celebrated this day and then I prayed for you because of the potential in you, in Christ. However, many who read their Bibles and ask Jesus in, think of this event as the last thing they will have to do in their Christian life except to attend church and tithe. Here is a little mystery; this is true in one sense and false in another. It is true that salvation occurs when a person believes and places their trust in Jesus. In one sense this is an end, yet it is false that this event is the end of salvation. Salvation is not only an event, it is a moment by moment experience. God has saved you, in Christ and He is saving You, in Christ. My prayer is that you will be among the growing few who come to know Him as He is. He is your life, in the presence of all that happens and does not happen. My prayer is that you will be among the growing few who learn to..
Watch over their hearts with all diligence because that is where things begin. (my adaption of Proverbs 4:23)
Let’s look at the next passage of scripture together with our hearts in view…
Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” The royal official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” and he himself believed and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:46-54)
You feel the tension don’t you? Jesus did miracles. Jesus does miracles, but not always. Why is this? Jesus could have had the Bible written with clear explanations; “When miracles do not occur, turn to this chapter and verse (and drink plenty of fluids).” He didn’t though, because He is looking for worshippers who will not only read the Bible but who will listen to His Spirit. At the salvation event a conversation began; in the flow of salvation, the conversation must continue. The Spirit invites the growing few into this place of security and intimacy.
For believers, there are two stock explanations why miracles do not happen. The first is, that the age of miracles expired in a dispensation of time when God entrusted them, for a while, to the Apostles. Many traditions claim that such things were put away when the the apostles died and a cannon of scripture was in place. The other explanation is that miracles are for today but they don’t happen because we don’t go about them right. There are bright, zealous believers in Jesus who are dead certain in their opposing views – death being the operative word. Dear child, you don’t want to die on either of these hills. On this matter, let the dead bury their own dead. I pray instead that you will live and grow accustomed to mystery (a great place for faith to grow) because God is not inclined to offer patent answers as to His ways and means.
The question is; how should a child of God relate to their Father? How should a citizen of God’s Kingdom watch over their heart (which is close akin to thinking) when miracles do not occur? I pray that you might read the scriptures and see that resurrection life has not been constrained by any dispensations. Even after the Apostles died, there were stewards of resurrection life. There has always been a remnant, walking in the Spirit – a growing few, whose God cannot be contained in dispensations or traditions.
To watch over your heart you will have to navigate among the certainties which many offer and clamor for. Certainty offers a guarantee that obviates faith. (That’s ok sweetheart. I had to look this word up too.) How can God grow faith in our hearts (without which we cannot please Him) with obviations? The many onlookers wanted guarantees, miracles preferably, to validate Jesus’ claim. Jesus felt the tensions too. You can hear it…
Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe. (John 4:48)
As the Word made flesh – the Creator which had come unrecognized into His Creation, Jesus was always between a rock and a hard place. Although I don’t believe He was driven to despair until Gethsemane, I do believe He felt the tension; “Do I heal everybody? Do I put on such a show that faith will be the inevitable outcome? One performance after another until the last man on earth concedes that I am the Christ? Do I really want concession? Or, is it better that I go away for a time and leave the Spirit to grow faith in their hearts?” It seems as though Jesus preferred the latter but His compassion often drove Him to the former, and as was often the case, with glorious outcomes…
“Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household. (John 4:53)
The matter of diligently watching over our hearts requires that we learn to live in this tension. Even though certainty is tempting and tension is uncomfortable, I pray you will not fall into either religious ditch. One produces smug indifference, the other, guilt. Although it may seem narrow at times, I pray you stay on the main highway, embracing Jesus as the same healer He was when He walked the earth. I pray many will be healed when you pray for them. I also pray that when you find yourself in that mysterious place where you do not see miracles, you will hold out for them, being among the growing few whose hearts will remain steadfast and immovable in the ongoing experience of their salvation.
Father, my prayer is that Your salvation and Your kingdom will flourish as the remnant entrusts themselves to Your faithfulness, discovering not only the adequacy, but the supremacy of Your Life. Amen.