Tonight I saw the movie, “Heaven is for Real” with some friends. Walking into the movie I knew the premise and am always skeptical about Hollywood making a movie about God. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of actors and the storyline. I remember ordering the book when it first came out for GFR. But I think I had heard so many stories of amazing miracles that I didn’t really give the book much thought.
I won’t give away the movie, but as I sat there I was able to visualize myself in two different characters. The church member who couldn’t understand why God would answer other people’s prayers and not hers. Then I saw myself in the dad who desperately wanted to believe in the great supernatural power of God and that God spent time with his son. Even as I write, I’m listening to the song by Mercy Me called “Wishful Thinking” and a line says, “what I bought I just can’t sell anymore”.
The truth is that most of my life even as a high school student has been spent wrestling with God. I couldn’t logically make sense of blessings for some and not for me. Now some of you will jump to well he blessed you but not in the way you wanted. Although there is truth to that, I really believe God allowed me to wrestle because so many times we teach Christians to just believe or worse don’t wrestle with God. However, I firmly believe the strongest Christians are those who have asked God questions and grappled with the suffering of this world. The reality is that we would rather avoid talking about things that we can’t tie up with a nice bow at the end of the conversation or dismiss someone else’s experience with God that doesn’t match ours.
My logic needs reasoning and strategy behind God and the way he works. Science works diligently and all hours to prove why things happen and with God we can’t find concrete truth as to why God moves here and not there. But I think the bigger issue for me is that I’m scared to death to find out that if I pour all my energy, hopes, dreams, strength, thoughts and beliefs to believe in the indescribable God I might be disappointed!
Before you “FIXERS” want to fix my thoughts let me go further. J I would dare say that Job felt disappointment with God when he was so ill and had no family or friends left. He asked God why he didn’t act. We know Paul was disappointed when he continually asked for “this thorn” to be taken away but it wasn’t. I do not believe that disappoint with God is a negative in fact I’m beginning to cherish the times where I’ve struggled because it has forced me to stay in relationship with God. It would have been just easier to dismiss God altogether, but that is not possible for me.
As I watched the movie and drove home I was met with this great sadness that Satan has won one of the greatest battles in our world. He has made having, “little faith” okay in our society. Now I don’t mean little faith that God exists, but little faith that our desire to spend time with him is not a high priority, or that God is important for me on Sundays or when I lead worship or when it’s a Christian holiday, or when tragedy strikes. Yet in my 37 years I have had only five major tragedies happen and I’ve had over 10,000 days of mediocre. It hasn’t been until this year that I have challenged my faith to dream bigger and believe deeper! We serve a God who created the ground we walk on, the sky (no matter if it’s cloudy or sunny) we look up to, the mountains we know exist both above and below land, the ocean we love to layout in front of, the little fact that grass turns green when it gives air to breath or brown when it can sustain the elements. To dare to have a deeper faith means we risk to place everything we know in an unexplainable God and allow the pieces to fall where they want. This doesn’t mean that life gets easier, in fact in some ways it will get harder as Satan feels threatened that we are turning from his system of belief to God’s plan. It also means that healing doesn’t always come when we spend sleepless nights praying.
What it does mean is that we are not alone!
It means that the road ahead might be unclear, but we don’t have to navigate through it we can just take one step at a time and God will get us there.
It means that the promises of Heaven are real and some might touch our lives here on earth, but these are glimpses of what those who believe in Christ’s sacrifice will experience for all of eternity.
On my journey I keep coming back to the Lord’s Prayer that I have said a million times, but never really got until this year. Here is my version of the Lord’s Prayer:
God you are so Sovereign and Mighty, but you are still my Father.
Bring glimpses of Heaven today to my life here on earth,
Please provide what I need just for today and help me not worry about tomorrow.
I ask that you would forgive me for the ways I sin against you and others, I forgive those who have hurt me and offended me. Guide me away from making poor decisions and protect me from the Evil One.
The key to this prayer is that it’s daily. It’s not a one and done type of prayer. Christ commanded us to stay in communication with God through this way for a reason. He wants an intimate relationship with each of us. I believe that the reason the book, “Heaven is for Real” sold millions of copies is that so many of us are unaware of our desperate desire to believe God is active and desires intimate engagement with His people, but we have to believe first. We can’t get anywhere without true belief!
Let us start our day out tomorrow wanting it to not be another mediocre day, but a day we meet the Holy Spirit and work alongside him!!!