Easy lesson here, but it is one we tend to forget.
God can handle this, whatever “this” is.
Every time I travel to Brazil, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the experiential faith of our kids and graduates. Experiential because it is faith based on a reality that has already been made manifest. They get this faith thing because they have seen the hand of God in their own lives.
I have told you before about the impact our graduate church is having on the neighboring community. Our graduates see the drug addict sleeping in the weeds who believes he has no hope, but they know God has an answer for him because so many of them knew addiction as teenagers.
They meet a prostitute who says God could never love her because of her sin, and then they introduce her to the 21-year old godly woman—and her 10-year-old daughter (yes, 10, no typo) born of her prostitution when she was 11.
They believe because of their experience, their need, their dependence.
I am very concerned that we have outgrown God, that we don’t really need Him today.
We can take care of this (again, whatever “this” is) ourselves, so God is largely extraneous to our lives.
But Jesus always kept a focus on our dependency on God as Father, and the faith that the dependency brings.
Time for a lesson from the gospels here…
Matthew relates the story of a rich man who comes to Jesus asking him the secret of eternal life. Jesus gives him the easy part first: keep the commandments—no adultery, no stealing, no lying, honor your parents, and love your neighbors. The rich man replies that he has that covered; what else does he have to do?
This is the tough part. Jesus answers him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Too tough. The rich man walks.
Jesus then turns to his followers for some follow-up discipleship. “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” And then, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Did you catch the subtle, but very important switch in wording?
I think Jesus is making a distinction here between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. The kingdom of heaven is a place, a destination, if you will. It is the ultimate home of the redeemed. It is difficult, very difficult, for a rich man to get there, because doing the faith and grace thing can be a challenge with a full wallet.
But the kingdom of God is a state of being, a way of existence, and it borders on the impossible for a rich person to get there. Because, you see, the kingdom of God is not some remote, future promise. It is to be realized here, now. It is a state of living in total dependence upon God, of finding everything we need in Him.
The rich man really doesn’t need God, can make it fine without Him. So entering that state of dependence is virtually impossible; as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
The orphans at Hope get this. They have hope, because they have experienced hopelessness. They trust because God has been faithful in all they have placed before him.
Do we want to experience a deeper faith? Perhaps it’s time we stop acting so self-sufficient and start depending on God as Father.