I serve a God of possibilities! He made me in His image, capable of creativity, with abilities to build, to know, to love. In Him I find purpose, meaning, and hope. He is not my ‘good luck charm.’ It is a tragic misunderstanding of God’s promises that causes some people to of God kind of like a lucky rabbit’s foot. Remember those? In the past (does anybody do this anymore?) people sometimes carried a preserved rabbit’s foot. Allegedly the charm would bring ‘good luck’ to its owner. Silly? Of course.
Is God your good luck charm, only brought to mind when you need healing, or financial resources, or help with a wayward kid, or an advantage in some effort in life? That is not faith, that is superstition. Let’s explore that together. Following a discussion about salvation and serving God, the disciples felt overwhelmed, aware of their inability. Jesus told them “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26, NLT) That phrase finds its way into many a discussion when life is hard, when a new project is proposed. Often it is reset into a context of positive thinking, changed from “with God all things are possible” into “since God is with me, all things are possible…for me.” The focus shifts from God’s leading to our desires, and HE becomes our good luck charm.
More than a few people have told me that their faith has collapsed, that they are giving up on God. The conversation goes something like this. “Pastor, I have faithfully gone to church, tried to live by the teaching of the Bible, said my prayers, gave in the offering, and did my best to be good, but God let my _____ (fill in the blank with some major disappointment). So, I do not believe anymore.” I feel their heartbreak, empathize with their disappointment, and wonder how they came to think that they should be exempt from the common human experiences that include things like sickness and death.
The God of possibilities invites you and me to know His will, to seek to be led by Him, to trust Him to create new things out of the rubble of life in which we sometimes find ourselves.
Did Daniel’s faith exempt him from ‘bad luck?’ Not at all. In fact, his faith caused him great difficulty in the short term when his prayer life made him a criminal, breaking the rule of the king! Serving God led him into the lion’s den! But, he continued to trust and God used that horrible night to increase Daniel’s stature in the Babylonian empire.
Paul’s faith caused him to become a traveling messenger of the Gospel. God asked him to endure years of hard travel from one end of the Roman Empire to the other as he built the Church. As he faithfully served God, he also experienced persecution, shipwreck, and imprisonment. Did he grow disillusioned? Not at all. In fact he declares, “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:1-4, NIV)
God doesn’t exist to be our personal good luck charm. He asks us to make Him our “Lord of life” and promises to walk with us through each day leading us until we are welcomed into our eternal home. IF we insist that God keep us from all troubling situations, if we attempt to use prayers to ward off every unpleasant thing, that ‘faith’ will fail because it is not really faith in God; it is faith in our ability to use God for our own purposes.
Here is an amazing fact about true faith – God does do things in us, for us, and around us that are ‘impossible,’ in the words of one my favorite passages – “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Eph 3:20) This is the God of possibilities!
Disciple, don’t allow your faith to be reduced to the status of a silly superstition! Make faith in God the center, that by which all things in your life are measured, from which all decisions flow. There will be moments when it will seem that God is not present, when prayers go unanswered, when nothing makes sense. Remain faithful!
Here’s a word from the Word. Meditate on the revelation of His majesty, praying for faith to let God truly be God.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:8-12, NIV)
Thrive (Casting Crowns reminds us that God is at work!)
Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water
We will never run dry
So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire
Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on high
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive
Into Your Word we’re digging deep
To know our Father’s heart
Into the world we’re reaching out
To show them who You are
Anything is possible
We were made to thrive
Mark Hall | Matthew West © 2014 Atlas Holdings (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing)Highly Combustible Music (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing) House of Story Music Publishing (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing)
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