Thursday, February 16, 2012

Behold, Believe, Be Forgiven

Note to reader: This reflection was written in honor of the participants of the Men's Cursillo Weekend taking place at Shalom House February 16-19, 2012, and first appeared in the January 2012 issue of the Rooster Review. 

     The miracle of God’s love is always around us and inside of us.  The more we pay attention, watch carefully, and observe this, the more likely we are to be amazed at what God has done and is doing in our lives. 
     During Jesus’ public life, He performed a number of miracles that left people awestruck.  He didn’t heal people to get a rise out of the crowd or to gain fame; bringing physical relief was one of the many ways He glorified the Lord and brought other people closer to Him.  It was one way to get people’s attention and draw them in.  Restoring sight to the blind, healing the lame, and casting out demons would make you someone in high demand at any time. 
     People don’t want to remain in pain.  They don’t want to despair.  They don’t want to be stuck.  Jesus offered everyone new life then, just as He does now.  Many came to Him because they were interested in being healed of an ailment that had been present since birth and/or one that had stumped doctors for years.  Few understood the level of healing that was taking place.  Not many knew that the most important healing that Christ offered then was the forgiveness of sins, the healing of our souls.  Many of us seem to forget that’s still the most important type of healing Christ offers, that which allows us to enter into eternity with Him when we pass from this life into the next. 
     Christ’s followers were astounded to behold the signs and wonders He performed in the name of God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Much of what Jesus did had people, even His top twelve, scratching their heads.  They saw what He was doing and heard what He said, but they still needed help in the believing department. 
     God knows that about us.  He knows that even if He’s manifested Himself to us in miraculous ways that we still can have a tendency to doubt.  The Apostles saw Him after He rose from the dead, yet they still had trouble accepting and believing what He’d been telling them all along would happen. 
     We are blessed with the gift of faith, which the Lord plants in our hearts, because He knows that we are inclined to doubt.  We want physical proof.  We want to see the evidence, and sometimes not even that is enough.   To believe means to accept some aspects of the Divine Truth purely on faith, a grace freely given by God to help us get beyond the “show me/prove it” mentality. 
     When a person who’s been on the prayer list for months, facing one health challenge after another walks into an Ultreya or other Cursillo event smiling, we witness God’s power to heal.  We have yet another reason to believe that Christ is able to bring us through the toughest times. 
      Often the pre-requisite for healing to take place in the Bible is belief.  The person, or sometimes their friends, needed to believe in Christ’s power to restore the body, mind, and/or spirit to health.  The depth of the healing He offered, that of the soul as well as the body, was unparalleled.  It still is.    
     Perhaps the most challenging part of faith is to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ knows us more intimately than anyone else, loves us so much more than is humanly possible, and offers us forgiveness, which we are free to accept or refuse.  It’s not enough that we behold the Lord working in the world, believe what He has done and is doing, and trust that everyone else is being forgiven. 
     We have to behold God’s Presence within us, believe that He can work in and through people as flawed as we are, and take the leap of faith required to accept the forgiveness He offers, though we don’t deserve it, didn’t earn it, couldn’t do anything that would merit it… 
     Are you ready to behold God’s glory, believe in God’s mercy, and be forgiven? 
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