Monday, September 1, 2014

mo' miracles, mo' problems...

“Philip said to Him, ‘LORD, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.' Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am?’”
- John 14:8-9

As Christians, it is hard to believe that the disciples and apostles were fearful. It is hard for us to grasp that they doubted and that they were, in fact, raw and real men, struggling with the concept of Jesus and His divinity. It is easy for us to look at these men and blame them and shame them for their foolishness; but if I am honest, I think that there is great beauty in this humanity. I love that these are the men that Jesus chose to walk with Him! I love that these men were idiots at times, because frankly, I am an idiot a lot of times in the arena of my personal faith. As a woman who is continuing to build her faith, I am encouraged by these men, especially in their doubt; Peter, Thomas, Philip… they questioned Jesus and wanted more… More miracles, more proof, more faith.

Now, understand this… Philip (and the disciples as a whole) had been walking with Jesus, literally and figuratively, for quite some time. They knew what Jesus was capable of; Philip experienced first hand the miracles and power of this God-man (let us not forget Philips crucial role in the feeding of the five-thousand, the calming of the storms, etc.). He knew what Jesus did and who He was, but not the truth of who He was, and that is the crux of his cry for more.

An accurate understanding and theology of Christ carries us through doubt and fear; know who Jesus is, not simply what He does.

In hard times, our hearts confuse the character of God; we ask, out of human doubt and fear, for the LORD to show us who He is, to show us His goodness, mercy, kindness, grace, and justice once again. This is where we see Philip, out of desire for comfort and stability, asking once more for Jesus to showcase his power.

When it comes to the struggle of doubt, Philip is my soul brother… This story from Scripture really hits home for me! I think that I “pull-a-Philip” more often than I would like to admit. Fear creates a Philip in all of us; we foolishly seek signs rather than seeking our Savior.

We see a similar story in Mark 4, where Jesus calms the storm. The disciples are in the boat with Jesus after a long day, filled with people and miracles and wonders. They are listening to the sounds of the ocean and waves, no doubt discussing great theological concepts amongst themselves. Soon, a fierce storm swells, frightening this group of men. We know the story; the disciples wake Jesus out of their fear, asking Him for compassion and understanding… Obviously, they are going to drown and Jesus was just going to sleep through this tragic event. I can just imagine these guys scurrying around this tiny boat, clamoring around, desperate to find safety. Jesus then stands up and commands the waves to be still, the wind to calm. He then approaches the disciples yet again with a question of faith…

“’Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”
-       Mark 4:40

These men just did not seem to understand who Jesus was and what He was capable of, even after spending day in and day out with Him. They saw miracles upon miracles, and yet still questioned. Mo’ miracles, mo’ problems! (Clearly, I would have been the disciple who rapped or did spoken word or something as equally hipster back in that time.)

Friends, I might as well have been in the boat with them that day! I assure you that I would have been the first to rouse Jesus from His sleep, fearing for my life! Just like the disciples, I forget the truth of who Jesus is and doubt that He will come to my rescue. Yes, I know that He has done miracles in the past, that He has ultimate authority, that He died and rose again for my salvation, but it won’t be until (insert desired miracle/desire here) happens that I will somehow fully be able to trust Him, to lean on Him, to know that He really is who He says He is… WHO DO I THINK I AM TO TELL GOD TO MOVE? Who do I think I am to ask Jesus to move out of my fear?

In my moments of doubt, my heart hears those same questions as Philip did, “Child, I thought you knew who I was? Why do you need more proof? Isn’t who you know me to be enough?” Ouch. Again, ouch. That moment of conviction shocks me to the core, because I want to be a woman of faith, NOT fear. Do I need to quote Proverbs 31 right now? “She laughs without fear of the future…” We have been quoted that passage, that verse, our whole lives in the church, but I think that I am just starting to scratch the surface of its meaning.

Sweet friends, are we women who fear the future, asking God to prove Himself, or are we women who look to the future with expectancy, knowing that Christ will do a great work in us?

How many times have you asked the LORD to move out of fear? How many times have you desired a miracle not because you need to rely on God, but because you want Him to prove Himself to you?

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