Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t ask me to make inferences from your words. It’s not my strength. I’m literal that way.
I have this issue of not “getting” it right away. When figuring out meanings behind actions and implications made within conversations, I am slow to come around. Things need to be very clear – I like things to be spelled out. Instructions are key. Give me a set of steps and I’ll follow them. Give me a picture of your desired result and it just looks like a picture. Oh, you want me to get there without telling me how? I don’t understand.
So it’s paradoxical why it has taken me so long to come around to the gift that God has given us. He says it right out: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16, NLT). Why do find myself sometimes wondering if God really means what he says?
It is no surprise that I have stumbled many times in my faith. I don’t often get that Jesus’ sacrifice is everything, but it’s not that the message is unclear – it’s my own disbelief in the truth that trips me up. The belief that God would do such a thing for the world, this place that causes hurt for so many – impossible. The belief that he would care so much for me - what?
Yet the Bible says that with God everything is possible (Matthew 19:26, NLT). Including what I find so hard to believe.
I would do well to get out of my own way and take at face value something that God has promised to the entire world without exception, that God “has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1: 3-5, NKJV)
Everyday stumbling blocks can lead to skepticism. Past pain, current troubles, peripheral threats and the occasional feeling of distrust and overarching societal malaise contribute to a doubt that God is the real thing, that what he says has happened and is happening.
It’s what the Bible was written for, what all those past martyrs and disciples lived for and died for. It’s what wars were fought over and what we battle every day in our modern lives.
For us to understand why we are here and where we are going. For me to get it.
God must have known that I would have a hard time believing in his gift, his sacrifice, his love.
After all, he knows us. He knows that we need to hear his message over and over to get it. Sometimes it takes a lifetime for a person to truly believe.
No matter how literal they think they may be.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NKJV)