Samson didn't know God had left him and he tried to break free from the shackles. Did Samson know that God had returned when he pushed on the pillars? A brief reflection on the story of Samson and why it's so important that we push.
We are taking an image. A likeness. The more time we spend on the subject, the more accurate the picture will be. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more reflective we will be of Him. We can’t just take a quick glance and claim Christ-likeness, its a lifelong process filled with blessings of pain and hope. And each step along the way we are perfecting our portrait of Him in our lives.
Why can we forgive our exes, but we hold God eternally guilty? Why can we give a free pass to humanity, and forever condemn the church? Hurt after hurt we go to jobs that don’t appreciate us, seek friends that don’t honor us, and commune with strangers who don’t love us… but the God that defined love and created companions just for us gets a hard pass. We use terms like “never”. I will never let the church hurt me again. I heard someone say to their 4th wife.
It’s easy to put myself in dad-mode and bask in how happy my son is with some swift, logical parenting… but like in most parables, I’m not the parent in this story. I’m the boy who wants things that aren’t good for me, wastes stuff, covets, and gets sad when things don’t go my way. MY way. God… He is the one who knows whats best. He is the one who lovingly withholds, carefully plans, and masterfully executes things I may never understand.
We believe that we can create a rift between God that we cannot ever make our way back from. When we start down this thought pattern it would be wise to think through what it means to give up. It means to quit. To stop. To move forward no longer. To cease having the ability to succeed. To forfeit. Jesus did NOT do this. Simply, He is still pursuing us. He still loves us. He still desires us. He still forgives. He still saves. He still redeems.
I think God set us up to ride the rides. In this world’s arcade we are meant to have fun and just live in God’s protective grace. We are genuinely meant to live in contentment as Paul learned to do. But somewhere along the way, someone whispers. What about these tickets? And some of us will spend the rest of our lives chasing things that have no value.
Jesus constantly found people in the middle of their mess. Prostitutes, tax collectors, murderers, thieves… and yet they saw compassion and love when they deserved nothing but a taste of their own medicine. Forever longing to be more like Jesus, I think prayer is the first thing we can do when we run across these people. Prayer followed by a firm understanding of where we come from and who we serve.
If we aren’t careful, our circumstances can begin to dictate our prayer life. And there is one thing that never changes. No matter what happens, how big, or in what form… Jesus will have always died on the cross for us. His sacrifice does not toss in the wind of possible life moments.
Do you believe God can heal us here, now, and today? If not, ask yourself why you pray at all. Examine your prayers. Dig into the scriptures. I know an awful lot of people who pray everyday for God to be with sick, be with doctors, give comfort, etc. if you don’t believe God has power in this world, why are you praying those prayers? The very prayers Jesus taught us to pray.