Friday, 15 January 2016

Faith is climbing out on a limb, cutting it off, and watching the tree fall away

People who deny miracles are those that either haven’t seen them, or they’ve seen a miracle but refuse to believe what they’ve seen.
Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.  God was never one to ‘put on a show’ for the sake of simply impressing His audience. God always has an ulterior motive.  The biggest miracle of all was Him [Jesus] rising from the dead. Unlike Lazarus walking out of the tomb there were no recorded firsthand witnesses, only those who saw Him after the fact.  This miracle has an ultimate purpose which is to provide faith – while at the same time requiring faith.
When God displayed so much of His glory and might to the Israelites He had a purpose.  When Jesus walked three and a half miles out across the Sea of Galilee to His disciples, in the middle of a storm (without losing His balance as far as we know), at the darkest time of the night, He had a purpose.  When God raised Jesus from the dead on Easter morning He had a purpose.  His ultimate purpose for every miracle is to instill or deepen the faith of the participant or observer.
I am in the middle of reading The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson.   In his book he quotes his favorite definition of faith:  faith is climbing out on a limb, cutting it off, and watching the tree fall away.  As I read this my initial reaction was this is crazy, but then the realization hit me that this was a truth I experienced in my own life – believing God and watching the impossible happen.
When I first had (was given?) the idea for Bus Stop Bible Studies everyone told me, implicitly or directly, that I was crazy.  This was an impossible idea.  The transit companies would not allow it, there would be too much public resistance, Canadian laws made it impossible, etc.  But this is where faith kicks in – do you choose to believe in a God who is able to keep a tree limb suspended in midair with you sitting on it, or do you believe that the tree trunk of opposition, impracticality and manmade laws make the mighty tree immovable.
Like Peter, who got out of the boat at Christ’s invitation, I chose to walk out on the limb.  I sawed through the branch which required both will and effort and watched as the tree slowly fell away.  Ten years later I am still enjoying the view from my perch on this tree branch... floating in midair.  The tree trunk is long gone.  Even the roots of the tree have vanished thanks to the Supreme Court of Canada.  And, as with all miracles, God had an ultimate purpose which was to share His love with the millions of commuters who ride public transit every day.  And, like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, with resources provided by a miracle-believing young lad, from my lofty viewpoint I am able to observe all kinds of miracles happening in other people’s lives.

Is God asking you to get off your sofa and climb a tree or to walk on water?  Are you simply going to change channels or are you going to turn the TV off and ask God, "What's next?"  Trust me, the view from my perch up here is incredible!