God is unchanging. That’s what I’ve been told anyway.
The God of the Old Testament is the same God of today. My God is the same God who parted the Red sea, allowing the Hebrews to walk across on dry ground; no puddle jumping required. I worship the One who allowed the sun to stand still while Joshua finished his battle. He was the One who spoke the world into existence with mere words.
And then, His one and only Son came to this world in the flesh and carried on the legacy of miracles. He fed a crowd of 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch. He walked on water. He raised Lazarus from the dead! And then He arose after His crucifixion, conquering death
I am a Christian and it gets me fired-up, writing about my omnipotent God. The only problem is, well…is He really the same God that did all of that?
It just seems like there is a real absence of miracles today. I can explain it away, I’m sure. I have the Word of God, so I don’t need to see any miracles performed. Perhaps, I’m lacking faith and if I saw a miracle, I wouldn’t believe it anyway.
It’s just at times my American Christianity seems a bit monotonous; evening boring.
At least, until I read Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin last week. Ripkin and his wife were missionaries in Somali for 15 years. Afterwards, Ripkin traveled to several countries where Christians are severely persecuted, even killed for their faith, to record the believers’ stories.
He tells a story of a young woman named Samira who after having many dreams and visions gave her life to Jesus. Samira had been forced to flee her Islamic country. She later found employment with the United Nations working as a woman’s advocate in refugee camps. She represented women who had been raped by Taliban militia. Samira had personally led more than 30 women to Christ and because of which, the leaders of the militia wanted to kill her.
Samira was soon extradited to the United States for her protection. Ripkin and his wife flew Samira to visit them in their home state of Kentucky. On Sunday morning, Samira attended church with them. At the beginning of the service an entire family – mother, father and two children were being baptized. During the baptism Ripkin noticed Samira beginning to twitch, fidget, turn and rock back and forth in the pew, as if having an anxiety attack. Ripkin quietly asked her if she was okay.
“I can’t believe this! I cannot believe that I have lived long enough to see people being baptized in public. An entire family together! No one is shooting at them, no one is threatening them, no one will go to prison, no one will be tortured, and no one will be killed…I never dreamed that God could do such things! I never believed I would see a miracle such as this!” Ripkin just smiled.
But, Samira began to glance around at the people in the sanctuary, looking troubled. “Why aren’t the people standing?” she asked.
“Why aren’t these people standing and cheering and clapping at such a miracle from God? I think that I am going to burst with from joy! I think that I am going to shout!”
At that sentence in Ripkin’s book, I paused and let out a sigh. I was cuddled in bed, well past midnight on a Saturday evening, listening to my husband’s soft breathing as he slept. I read my kindle with one small light. Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face.
Here I thought my God (the very same Red Sea parting, death defying God of the Old Testament) was boring. What an insult.
God hasn’t stopped performing miracles. The truth was, I had lost sight of those miracles. I was too ignorant to notice His work.
Throughout the world, today (in 2013), there are believers who hide in caves to meet with fellow Christians. Believers who have never and will never own their own copy of the Bible. They simply have the Scripture engraved on their hearts. There are millions of Christ-followers who will never experience the luxury of celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmastime. Pastors who can only dream of what it would be like to go to a special school to receive training about Christianity.
Only now have I gained sight of all the things that I have allowed to become common; things that would be considered miracles in the eyes of millions of believers throughout the world! As I write this post, I only have to glance to the bookshelf on my left to count four Bibles, all in different translations. And yet, now I know about the people who will be thrown in prison, even killed for smuggling copies of the Scripture into their country.
I finished Ripkin’s book and could barely steady my racing heart enough to go to sleep. The next morning we went to church, as I have my entire life, but it was brand new to me. Sitting with hundreds of other believers, I was in awe of how great God is. I may never know why He chose me to live in America where I could so easily find Him, while there are young women living in other countries who don’t even know who Jesus is. They might never stumble across a Bible. They might never find Jesus.
God, forgive me for thinking you boring. God, forgive me for thinking you weak.
During the worship music set, I raised my hands in the air and sang along, “How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!”
Yes, how marvelous, how wonderful indeed.