THAT WE MAY HAVE EYES TO SEE
It is good to be encouraged by Biblical accounts of events and testimonies from the lives of other people. Preachers use events from the Bible to illustrate the mighty hand of God at work, through the ages. But, is not Christianity about a personal and eternal God? Hence, the question one must ask is-what have I seen and experienced since the time I made a personal decision to follow 'Jesus?' How you personally answer this question will in a way reflect where you are in your Christian journey?
Very recently in my prayer time, I was reading the passage from 1 John 1. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete."
I was drawn to the words 'what we have seen and heard' in this passage, and began to reflect on the meaning of these words. The passage brought out the fact that Apostle John had seen and heard certain things, and was now making a proclamation of the same. This led me to ask myself this question- what have I personally seen and heard in my Christian walk?
My grandfather came from a traditional Christian family, but made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ. With the interactions I had with him, and from what I have heard about him, I can safely say that he was a man who was impacted greatly by his faith in 'Jesus'. In and through his life, he demonstrated a change that comes about, when we put our trust in 'Jesus'. He was a man who lived by Biblical principles and loved God's Word. He displayed a contentment that comes from knowing and following the Lord.
I have also been blessed by parents who put God first in all their dealings. Rather than chase the things of this world, and put their hope in assets down here, they have demonstrated that it is more important to put God first. The choices we make in life, to a large extent act as a proof of where our faith rests. I have seen that the Lord has truly blessed them, by providing in abundance for their needs, as they continue to serve the Lord.
Even though I made a commitment to follow Jesus as a young boy, I have to admit that I had more of the world in me, rather than Jesus, for major period of my youth. But the Lord has been very compassionate with me and brought me back to Him 10 years back. Over these last 10 years, I have seen, heard and experienced so much, that I am constrained to proclaim the reality of 'Jesus'.
God In Control
Over these 10 years, I have come to see, experience and believe that the Lord has used events, circumstances, outcomes, etc., to prove that He is in control of everything. Unlike what I had initially felt, the Christian journey is not one where things are hunky dory because we now have the Lord on our side. It is more in the situation of need, adversity, anxiety and helplessness that the hand of the Lord can be experienced. The faith of the great Biblical characters and those of our earlier generations, can only help to a certain extent. A believer is led through mountains and valleys, to experience first hand what it means to put our trust in Jesus. As the years roll on, I believe with more and more certainty the hope we as believers have in Jesus. As our lives unfold, the Word of God is proved right, time and time again, bringing us to a point where we can join the apostles in saying, 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.'
God Is Sovereign Let us consider the confidence of David, a Biblical hero, when he came face to face with Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:45-47 we read, David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give all of you into our hands." Prior to this, David spoke to King Saul and said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
David recognised the hand of God over his life and was able to see God at work through the events in his life. This is very clear and evident through the records of his life.
God can use the events of yesterday to prepare us for the battles of tomorrow. But, for this, we need to be humble enough to acknowledge totally that the Lord is sovereign and it is He who empowers us to bring things to pass. Like David, do we reflect on the events in our lives and see the hand of God at work in our lives? Or, are we like the world which attributes success to one's education, abilities, aptitude, heritage or even sheer coincidence!!?
May the Lord give us eyes to see His hand at work in our lives, so that we can proclaim with boldness, His greatness, love and mercy.