Friday, December 17, 2010

Believing is Seeing

Reality Check Repost: Believing is Seeing

We all have our favourite seasonal movies that we watch at this time of year, from White Christmas to A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the fun cartoons, the nostalgic old flicks, the sentimental family stories, and the ones that focus on Christ. One children’s show, The Santa Clause, always amuses me. There is a scene with an elf showing a child a “magic snow globe” that comes to life. The dialogue is priceless: “Seeing ISN’T believing…believing is SEEING”.

It’s much easier for us to agree with that sentiment at Christmas because everything about the season centers on faith. Children who wait up to hear the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof, believing Santa is on his way. The Salvation Army people standing patiently beside the donation containers with faith that passers-by will drop in their coins. Carolers who go door to door, hoping that no matter how they sound, someone’s life will be made a little happier by their music.

At Christmas it seems easier to believe that people are basically good, that wrongs will be made right, that there will be peace on earth and that we’ll wake up to ‘Christmas Card Snow’ in the morning. Mostly though, when it comes to real-life issues, we often don’t believe anything can change for the better unless we first see proof. And our requests to God to “Bless George and Martha and our little dog, Puddles” don’t touch on the challenges that wake us in the middle of the night with fear or tears.

Being raised in the church, I have often heard this verse from James quoted from the pulpit: “…The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” In other words, “believing is seeing”. God works through our faith.

As a child, believing in the truth of that verse and the power of God, I laid my hands on a sick cow and prayed for God to heal her. And He did. As an adult, somehow I keep looking for proof that He can fix my problem before I’ll talk to Him about it. Sometimes, my belief that He cares about my situation is dependent on seeing Him already at work to correct it.

However, “Believing is seeing”. How those words should strike a chord in every Christian’s heart! We have it proved to us time and again that the real things in life are not tangible and that God can do more than we could ever think or ask. Yet I so often decide not to ask for something because of lack of faith that He cares about my personal problems. And then the Lord gently reminds me of Who I claim to put my trust in and I find myself in His classroom yet again, learning the lesson of trust.

After a tough few months of having serious challenges in many areas of my life, I was getting to the end of a rather frayed rope when I was able to take some time off to enjoy the company of a bunch of Christian people. I began to talk to a few folks who had worked through some tough situations. Some were able to plant their feet so deep in the joy of Christ that whether they were on the victory side of their problems or still in the midst of them, they were fully convinced that God was exceedingly, abundantly able to do whatever was needed.

I began to search my heart and I realized that although I’d been praying about my different situations, in reality my prayers weren’t all that fervent or full of faith. I was waiting to see results before I would fully believe that God was interested in my problems. Doubting Thomas and I could have been cousins; we were both so fixed on what we thought was the reality of the situation that believing it was anything other than what we saw was impossible.

After confessing my lack of faith to my Lord, we had a chat about a few things that were keeping me on the sidelines of trust. One relationship situation in particular He asked me to just give to Him and for some reason I was finally able to let go. And the peace that immediately followed was incredible. I was in awe not only that He was interested in my little things, but that I actually could leave it with Him and not hold onto any part of it.

Following that, it was a little easier to trust Him with the next hurdle. I work for a social service agency that is dependent on government funds for its budget, and frankly, the funds don’t always flow like we think they should. I was desperately in need of a raise, and as performance appraisal time was approaching, I knew this was the time to ask for one. However, I also knew that our funding increase wasn’t that significant and no matter how well I did my job, the budget could only be stretched so far.

I talked to the Lord about what I thought I needed to survive another year and He extended His peace so I knew that whatever happened, it would be okay. My sister started praying that I would not only get the raise I needed but a nice healthy bonus cheque as well. When I got my pay packet, my eyes literally filled with tears as I saw a raise of exactly what I asked the Lord for, plus the large bonus as well. God was once again reaffirming to me that He cares intimately for His children and He so loves to give us good gifts.

Sometimes it’s a little discouraging when I realize that I have to re-learn the same truths again and again. But I know that the Lord understands my humanness and that I’m not always as strong in my faith as I should be. When His answer to my prayers is “Wait”; I admit to having a bit of a problem with that concept. When things happen that I don’t understand, it’s not always easy to trust that He will work it through.

This Christmas my prayer for each of us that places our faith in Christ, is that we will totally embrace our belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of an Almighty God. This God who wanted communion with His children so much that He became one of us. He allowed Himself to be a Child Who was totally at the mercy of His human parents. He spent His life living, playing, eating, sleeping, working and relating with us. He taught us, healed us, fed us, and loved us. And then He let us kill Him so that He could give us life everlasting.

What more proof do we need of the love of Christ? What more do we need to be shown to believe that He cares about all parts of our lives? It’s time we looked with our hearts at everything He has done and is doing, everything He was…and is…and will be. The awesomeness of this loving Saviour will drive us to our knees. Believing is seeing.

By Lorraine Walker
Originally posted on December 2006

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