Many years ago I was invited to attend the grand opening of a restaurant. Accompanying the invitation to the feast was a golden key which was touted as possibly being the one that would unlock a treasure chest. Inside the treasure chest was a rather expensive door prize that would be given to anyone who had the special key. I announced without hesitation to my wife that our key would fit. When we arrived at the gala I told the receptionist my key would fit. The young lady, the keeper of the chest, thought it rather amusing when I announced, yet again, the key would fit! I had never before won anything, but… The key fit!
We all want so much for the mysteries of God to be unlocked as simply as my story above – an invitation with the fit of a “key” combined with an unwavering proclamation, as if we had the inside scoop on moving God. Then almost as if we controlled the whole thing, the window of blessings opens and we cannot bear it any more. (Oh, by the way, through the years I’ve received probably dozens of keys and have never won anything else.)
Please, before you label me as a “glass half empty” kind of guy, I want you to know that I believe that I serve a limitless God. Therefore, I pray that my glass is completely empty for Him to do the filling. For many years I have been suspicious of individuals who tout their faith as an instant ticket to a Nirvana-like realm where everything is beautiful and God blesses their socks off 24/7. There often seems a light and fluffy, almost fanciful approach to the Gospel nowadays; an approach which falls well short of addressing the needs of a sinful and dying world.
A call I made to a brother revealed the heart of a father who was experiencing the pain of wanting to make everything okay in the midst of chaos. My brother is one who is striving to walk with God as he and his wife deal with the life slowly leaving a loved one, and the relentless saga of a child battered by the demon of opiates. He asks, “Is it me, my sin, my fault? I don’t have any answers – I just want it to end.”
At times like these my faith becomes very simple and very sober… Jesus died for me. That’s it. I believe. Not wavering, not shaken, not doubting, not distracted by the waves, simply pleasing God by having faith.
As a disciple or “learner” of God I do not know much, but have resolved within my heart to be taught by God as He reveals Himself to me. The class is held every minute of every day. It never stops – often without any breaks. I must make myself available to be taught by Him, not just in attendance, but engaged in the process. Not just going through the motions, but for the love of Him, maximizing the opportunity.
We must abide with Christ, remaining with Him through life’s lessons and being broken so our helplessness is spilled out on His altar of grace and love. We pass the test not because of ourselves, but in spite of ourselves, only because God willed in His plan that we could be made perfect and entire, wanting nothing more than to abide with Him forever. We must die that we might live. The sophistication in which we live is an enemy of a childlike faith. How can I through intellect and success present myself as a “together” individual to the world and simultaneously cry out from a broken and helpless state with a repentant heart, “I am undone!”
A woman in her late fifties recently testified that even though she was saved in her teen years, God had become real to her only in the last several years. In conversation with her it became evident that her profound transformation was indeed most recent, and for over thirty years as a believer her relationship with God seemed to be on hold. Without a doubt, she desires beyond all else to walk with God – and is. But if she is now with God, where was she for over thirty years? Where has she been, where does God want us to be? Where are you?
The body of Christ is made up of people just like you with hopes and dreams and struggles just like yours, with talents and faults just like yours. We need each other to apply the keys of faith, hope, and love – just like Jesus.