Sometimes I wonder what people think Christians were. Many people think that Christians are “foolish”, they feel that Christians could be out of order or mentally sick because of what we believe and profess. They fail to consider that many of us go to the same school with them, sometimes doing the same courses, we go to the same shops, drive on the roads like them. We are normal human being with nothing different from others. Why then do we believe in God and in his word; why do we hold so strongly to biblical truths?
We celebrate Christmas every year. The circumstance surrounding the birth of Jesus is one of such truths that is very difficult for normal human beings to comprehend. How did the first recipients of the prophesy about Jesus’ birth react. Imagine you were in the congregation where Isaiah spoke of the virgin birth (Isaiah 9: 6). The people were as shocked as you think you could have been. You probably would leave the church that day saying, “The man of God has gone mad”. Who has heard of a virgin birth? I am sure that Adam and Eve the first persons that heard when God cursed Satan, lived and died wondering about the word of God, “the seed of the woman”
“So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Gen.3:14-15. (NIV)
Do you think that Mary was thrilled and dancing when the angel spoke to her about the birth of Jesus? If you read the Bible you will see her confusion about the announcement. Luke 1: 28 – 34, “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever, and his kingdom will never end” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “Since I am a virgin?” (NIV)
Mary’s state of mind can be deciphered when you consider that after the angel left, she ran to see what had happened to Elizabeth. She was like any other woman you can see anywhere. So what happened to her, why did she believe what she was told?
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greetings reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promise to her” Luke 1:39 – 45, (NIV)
There were people who doubted Moses, when he announced to them that God sent him to take Israel out of Egypt. The possibility of such a thing was none existent to them; If you were there, what would you think? “The man of God has gone mad”
“They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, “Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:11-12, (NIV)
Many people could not understand what he told them and opposed his mission all the way. He performed signs and wonder to prove his calling, but like many of us, the thought of signs and wonders don’t stay long in view; they lost the experience and continue the struggle with unbelief.
Who then is the Christian, why do we believe what we believed?
The light of God illuminated our hearts and quickened it to accept, believe and look forward to the fulfilment of what God said. We don’t have to know everything to believe that the word of God is true. Every day brings opportunities to prove that God’s promises are true. We don’t set out to test God to prove his word; we live like everyone else, doing our daily things and facing challenges like all others around us. It is in our daily live experiences that we see prophesies come to pass. We are thrilled and amazed as we were when the word was spoken; only that this time, we confess, “the man of God was not mad, we didn’t understand the word he spoke; but now we do.”
In many places efforts are made to do PR for God. We do all manner of things to attract people to church and work so hard to make them believe, so that we can keep them; I believe that portraying the Christian faith in the best possible way is great and I know the name of the Lord is powerful and works wonders; it is just that many people who do these things don’t understand the mystery of the faith. At a time in the Lord’s ministry many of his followers left him, they couldn’t handle some revelations and the things he said. Many expected a physical warrior who will drive away the occupation army and end foreign rule over Israel. When he declared that he was not going to do such a thing, they were disappointed. Dying like a criminal was completely the last thing they expected of a messiah; even Peter found it difficult to handle. Many people in our time cannot handle real prophesy and we have adopted the easy way – gimmicks to promote our churches.
Do you think we believed “carefully thought out fables” as Apostle Paul challenged people in his time? Why would we believe cunning fables? Why do people who never met or talked believe in these fables? You might think it is easy to believe them but you are wrong. Believers, even apostles challenged these truths (Thomas challenged the resurrection), Martha challenged the miracle of her brother’s resurrection, Moses challenged his calling, and Jeremiah felt he was too small to answer the call of God. Isaac means laughter because his parents laughed at the possibility of his birth. Jonah ran away from God, preferring to die to preaching in Nineveh. The men and women of faith were ordinary people who received the grace to believe. They were people who looked up to God every day to help them; they looked forward to seeing the word of God fulfilled in their lives.
Believing in God cannot be different today; the scripture says, “the just shall live by faith”. That means, hearing the word, believing it and waiting for its fulfilment”. The believer must bear with people who don’t understand him. The believer should study the ways of God and live in hope; his confidence is that God is faithful. He fulfilled many “weird promises” like the virgin birth; old women giving birth, the red sea dividing, etc. there was no promise he made that he turned away from.
The challenge of faith is not new and will not stop because the wonders of God will never cease. So live with it. Enjoy your faith, tell others about God’s love; pray that as God saved you through his grace, other people will be save. Don’t be afraid if you get isolated because of the word of God; that is exactly how it can be sometimes.God can speak to you in many ways, however not in language you cannot understand.(You cannot respond to a language you don’t understand)
Are you passing through difficult times? They are normal human experiences but as a child of God, you can ask for help from God and expect to get one.
(from my book – Faith Flight)
All right reserved