Friday, September 22, 2017

Fair Weather Christian

Today’s Gospel lesson reminds of a constant frustration I have with most every Christian I meet. We all pray at some time for something, especially when we feel the need is great. When God has granted our request we say, “God answered my prayers.” This ALWAYS means God said ‘yes’ to our request. I have NEVER (if I have I truly cannot remember when) met a Christian who said God had answered a prayer when the answer was no. We have come to believe the only answered prayers are those for which God says ‘yes’ to our request.

Then there is today’s Gospel. Here is the entire passage from Luke 4.22-30…
So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?" He said to them, "You will surely say this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.' "Then He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. "But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; "but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. "And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

Jesus had just finished reading from the Old Testament (see Luke 4.16-22) after which the crowd was really excited. He had just promised that people would be healed and slaves would be set free. Now today we hear “Many lepers were in Israel…and none of them was cleansed except Naaman,” so they cast Him out of the city. They were willing to love God only so long as they believed they were going to get from Him what they wanted.

It is a shame when we act the same way, but we just pretend God didn’t answer our prayers. It sooths our soul to believe He would have said yes if He had answered. The truth is God always answers prayers. It is just that sometimes the answer is ‘no’ and other times the answer is ‘not yet’ or ‘we’ll see what happens.’ Don’t be a fair weather Christian thanking God only for ‘yes’ answers. Instead trust that when He says, ‘no,’ it is because He knows better than you, that what you are asking for is either not good for you, or may even be dangerous.

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