This past weekend I finally saw the movie “Heaven is for Real.” And I really liked it. I thought it was well done and acted, which makes a world of difference. The characters were very believable, and helped bring the story to life. My favorite character was the Dad. I identified with him very much. The way he wrestled with God and with disbelief touched me for I’ve been there so many times before.
The character reminded me of the father in Mark 9: 24 who approached Jesus to ask Him to deliver his son from an evil spirit that had possessed him since infancy. I love the direct exchange between Jesus and that father,
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9: 21-24 (NIV)
I can’t help but chuckle every time I read Jesus’ replying to the flustered Dad, “if you can?” From my human and egocentric perspective, I can almost hear an implied, “Don’t you know who I am?” Of course, Jesus’ compassionate and humble heart would not allow Him such an arrogant reply…I do enjoy, however, witnessing His humanity peak through in encounters like this one : ) I can sense His holy frustration with the dilemma of facing His children’s lack of understanding of who He is, while at the same time teaching us who He is.
At any rate, this is a story of man’s struggle with unbelief, and it mirrors on every human being that ever lived. We know the Power of God is limitless, but when it comes right down to it in our own personal lives, we just can’t believe it enough to know He is able to do what He says He can do.
We marvel with jaw-dropped wonder at miraculous stories that relate voodoo priests coming to Christ after witnessing a truly divine healing in Haiti, or at Muslim people becoming Christians thanks to visions gathered in dreams, or at gang leaders surrendering to Our Lord at the very church service they intended to break up. We attribute the steady sobriety of a life-long addict to rehab or the unexplained healing to modern science, forgetting that they are only possible because of the divine intervention and the guiding hands of the Holy Spirit. We forget that there is power in the Word, for the Word is All Mighty! We forget that the same power that spoke the earth and the universe into being is alive today, and it has not lost a bit of such power. We forget that everything is possible for God…even the fact that He may choose to reveal a vision of heaven to a little four-year-old.
Why do we insist on limiting Our Most High God?
Perhaps it is because we are subconsciously trying to protect God’s reputation. If we look deep inside ourselves, though, who is it that we are really trying to protect with our disbelief? God’s reputation doesn’t need protected. Whether the world chooses to believe it or not, He already walks on water! I think we are trying to protect our own reputation as rational, level-headed thinkers. We don’t believe God enough, so we try to maintain a stance of impartial distance just in case He doesn’t deliver. We lower our expectations, just in case He doesn’t come through. We don’t hope for the supernatural, to avoid having to deal later with the disappointment of a less than ideal reality.
Whatever it is, it is caused by unbelief, and only Christ can help us overcome it.
Like the father in the movie, the task of moving beyond doubt is impossible on our own. It is only achieved by coming to Him for help with a humble heart that recognizes He that is sovereign and that we can’t fully understand His ways for as long as we live on this side of Heaven. He chooses to do the irrational, the supernatural, the surreal within the constraints of our very material reality, and that throws our limited brains off. However, with His help, we can overcome our disbelief and appreciate His limitless power, whenever He may choose to reveal it.
Linking with: Whole Hearted Home
Linking with: Whole Hearted Home