provision

Apr23

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
—Matthew 6:26

What do you want from Me?

Apr9

He must have been disappointed.

The paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof to get to Jesus was probably not expecting to hear the words, “Your sins are forgiven.” Really? After all this effort? Don’t you see me lying here on this mat? That’s not quite what I was hoping for…

What do you want from Me?

I always sort of wondered why Jesus asked that question, when the answer seemed so obvious. The blind guy wanted to see, the lepers wanted to be clean, the lame guy wanted to walk.

Your sins are forgiven.

And then it began to dawn on me. Jesus didn’t actually come here to heal physical ailments, give the grieving their dead come to life, feed the masses. If easing human suffering had been primary His aim, he could have been the most popular, most sought-out man of His day.

But no. He came to shed light on a dark world that didn’t want its evil deeds exposed. He came to challenge a smug and complacent religious system, to tell the pious leaders they were walking graves. He came to die so that many could experience spiritual life.

What do you want from Me?

I think He was looking for someone to actually get it. To say, “You know, all these physical things, the day-to-day stuff—I don’t actually care so much about that. What I’d really like is to be truly alive spiritually. Would you please make my soul whole and healthy so that I can walk through this life in close relationship with the Father?”

You can almost hear Him pleading with those who followed Him. “Why don’t you ask Me for Living Water that will bring life to your soul?”  “Don’t follow Me for the bread that just fills your stomach, but hunger for the Bread from Heaven that gives eternal life.”  “Seek first the kingdom of God, and these other things will be given to you as well.”

He must have been disappointed.

Fortunately for the paralytic, there were pharisees in the crowd with snarky attitudes, thinking, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?” And so Jesus said, “So that you will know that I have authority to forgive sins, pick up your mat and walk.”

And that’s what the miracles were all about. They were not the end in themselves, but the means through which Jesus showed that God had come to earth in the flesh. He said repeatedly, “If you don’t believe My testimony about Who I am, believe the works themselves.” The miracles attested to the fact that Jesus was truly the Son of God, the Messiah who was to come.

Your sins are forgiven.

When I accepted Jesus as a child, I knew that was the first step. Today, we understand a bit better that Jesus came to forgive sins, and to give us eternal life. But what about that time in between salvation and eternity? I must admit that most of my requests are more along the lines of the blind, lame, and leperous. Focused on temporary, physical things my prayers run something like, “Please make my life more predictable, comfortable and secure.”

What do you want from Me?

I think Jesus still asks that question today. And now, as then, I think our answers often disappoint Him. What would it take for you, for me, to say, “You know what? Forget all that other stuff. I want a spiritually vibrant life more than anything else. Do whatever it takes to make my soul whole and healthy, my relationship with You deep and rich, the establishment of Your kingdom my life’s greatest goal.”

It’s a bit scary to think about uttering those words. It means giving up control (which we don’t actually have), letting go of safety and security (which are, in truth, only found in Him) and sacrificing dreams and desires (of which He is the deepest fulfillment). When you look at it like that, what’s keeping us from taking that step? I don’t know where such a wild leap of faith might lead, but one thing I’m sure of…

We won’t be disappointed.