Most matters of faith, in my experience, have started first with my mind. What do I think? What do I know? What do I understand?
The funny thing about faith is, that faith is not a product of the mind alone. In fact, my mind is often my worst enemy. Saying this makes me squirm. For I fear that some might take that to mean that I think the mind is not important to matters of faith. This is not true, but the mind can be the enemy of faith. My mind is a place of worry and control. It is a place where possibilities are played out and often leave me wanting. The mind, is the place where matters of faith come in contact with their enemy, human reason.
Reason. I’ve come to see that most things reasonable are those things within human control and understanding. It is reasonable that when I put gas in my car it will run. It is not reasonable however that once, while driving with a friend in Mexico, in the dump, and our gas needle was below empty and we prayed, that as we drove the display showing how many miles were left in the tank continued to go up until we arrived at the gas station, which was several miles away. It was so completely unreasonable, that my friend and I laughed the entire way to the gas station.
It is not reasonable that I would have no money in my bank account, knowing I had a lunch meeting that I had planned a month in advance and prayed that I’d somehow have money for the meeting and an envelope with $8 cash in it arrives in the mail. It is not reasonable that when I was in high school, leading a mission trip to Mexico, and our interpreter didn’t show on the day I was to lead the craft, a craft which told the story of Jesus, and though I explained the craft in english, those in the room heard me speak Spanish. The students started their craft as though I was completely understood and I had a friend ask me when I had learned how to speak Spanish. I took French. I knew no Spanish.
My life is filled with stories of unreasonable things. It is both exhausting and beautiful. I see God daily. He is my provider and He lives up to it over and over and over again.
The longer I’ve followed Jesus, it seems the less I know of impossibility. And, when people use the word impossible, there is a part of me that smiles inside because that is the place where God shines.
You see, most of us, in the States, and I’d imagine around the world, have a certain level of imagination for what is reasonably impossible for Jesus to do. Mary and Martha believed in the unreasonable reality that Jesus could heal their brother Lazarus from his illness, but they had no imagination for the unreasonable truth that Jesus could raise him from the dead. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God was capable of saving them from the punishment of being killed by the fiery furnace. I wonder if they thought that salvation would come from within its heat. And, Daniel, I wonder if he thought he’d be rescued from the lions while trapped in their den? Or, if he thought he’d been rescued prior to going to the den in the first place.
Reason is often an excuse that keeps us from faith, from acting in our belief. Reason, is often fear in disguise. What if the man with the shriveled hand, when met by Jesus and commanded to stretch out his hand would have looked at Jesus and said, “Sir, don’t you see my hand is shrived? I was born this way and it isn’t possible for me to stretch out my hand!” and then he would have kept his reason, but missed his miracle. Thankfully, the man didn’t react to Jesus in that manner. No, in fact, when Jesus met him and commanded him to stretch out his hand, with out a question the man stretched out his hand and he was well.
Again, what if the blind man, whom Jesus had made mud with his own spit and covered the man’s eyes and commanded him to wash his eyes, what if the man never washed his eyes out of fear that he wouldn’t be able to see when he was through washing. That seems reasonable does it not? But no, the man washed his eyes and he could see.
When reason becomes the god we serve, we will miss the blessing found in the unreasonable. Do not allow reason to be your God. Do not bow down to its propositions and fears. Do not miss the healing that comes in the bold step into death, the fire, foolishness or fear of disappointment. Instead, step, stretch, wash and live in a belief and out of a faith that is reasonably unreasonable.