For the past few years the first article I’ve written for the year has been one of encouragement. A friendly reminder that we can we focus on how broken our world is or focus on the one who loved us so much he adopted us into his family.
Countries around the world are in upheaval as their governments try to subjugate their citizens into conformity. We have a double digit excess death toll as dying suddenly becomes the new normal. The cost of living continues to increase while many are still being denied the opportunity to work free from coercion. Suicide numbers are rewriting the record books and children's innocence is systematically being stripped from them everyday.
OK before you get too depressed let me restate my initial point.
Regardless of what is happening in the world, in your country, in your community, in your family, with you personally, none of it changes the truth of the Bible.
Episode 5 of season 3 of The Chosen aired recently and retold the story of the woman who bled for years and believed Jesus could heal her to the extent that she just needed to touch the clothing he wore. Having had my own long running battles with injuries over the years I am no stranger to the dilemma of using the Bible to interpret my life rather than letting my lived experience interpret the bible.
Is God a God who is cruising around in heaven all day zapping people dead one after another all day long or did he give us dominion over earth and all that was in it and when we got it wrong he sent his son to restore us to the same level of relationship he had with Adam and Eve before they chose to be selfish? I know which one I can find evidence for in the Bible.
Is the model of how to raise children to let them be so influenced by society that they want to irreversibly medically alter their bodies because they have been conned into believing this will make them feel better when statistically they end up feeling worse?
Is the most ideal environment for a child to grow up in one with a loving father and mother or is the government a better source of nurturing and guidance? Again I know which ones I can find evidence for in the Bible.
For generations now we have replaced the life giving word of God with, TV, Movies, Music and Books that have for the most part told us a vision very different to the one our creator wants us to have.
The woman who bled for years was an outcast in her society she was seen as unclean. If she had listened to the church leaders of her time she wouldn’t have been anywhere near a crowd of people the day she touched Jesus. Her faith as basic as it was saw her reach out in desperation for a miracle.
In comparison we have a plethora of books we can read. More of us know how to read than did back then. We can listen to books and sermons whenever we want. We can watch messages from preachers around the globe, both current ones and historical ones. We don’t have to rely on a priest or rabbi to tell us what is in the Bible we can discover it for ourselves.
What I’ve discovered in my own faith journey is that it isn’t the intellectual knowledge that will set you free but the experiential knowledge of who God is that can set you free. According to recent xrays I currently have pieces of bone in my body that are still knitting back together. Does this change the truth of the Bible that Jesus heals. That he came to give us life and life more abundantly? If I looked at the Bible through the lens of my life I could believe that I was being punished for something I did but that isn’t the God of the Bible that I know.
Years ago I got hit by a car and for the next 3770 days I lived with debilitating nerve pain. Every facet of my life was affected. To get through a church service I would have to lay on the floor up the back out of peoples way during the sermon just to tolerate the pain and exhaustion. Was it my lack of faith that didn’t see me miraculously healed sooner? That can’t be it when people who say they don’t believe are healed every day.
Again after a recent accident I find myself laying down to get through a church service due to pain in my body. What I can tell you now that I couldn’t tell you then is that it doesn’t matter. My circumstance doesn’t change the truth of the gospel. He is a God who loves and is a God who saves.
I learned along the way in a very personal way that he doesn’t want to meet strangers in heaven. He didn’t come just because we were sinners he came because he loves us so much and wanted his family back. Every time I share with you this year and I pray there are many more it would be correct of me to say Jesus loves you. This doesn’t mean that in that moment you are guaranteed to feel his love. The guarantee I can make you though is that the closer the relationship you have with your creator the easier it will become to know his truth rather than the truth of our world.
So I encourage you this year spend more time developing your relationship with your eternal loving father. If you view him through the lens of your earthly one you are selling him so short. Get to know him as his adopted son or daughter and you won’t have to try and find faith or try to be a good Christian. I pray you’ll discover along the way as I did that though the world is still a very messed up place that you’ll start hurting more for people than being hurt by them.
The video of a longer version of this article can be viewed here.
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Neville Hiatt was the 2020 Press Services International Tronson Senior Writers Award Winner for Australia. His previous posts for can be read here.
He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. For more of his award winning creativity visit http://nevillehiatt.com.
He also blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.