The heart of the Christian faith is loving relationships – a loving relationship with God and loving relationships with neighbors.
A loving relationship with God can be expressed differently, just as you have different loving relationships with different people. In some families, children speak to their father very politely, as to a guest, and this respectful attitude doesn’t mean there’s no love between them. In other families, children talk to their fathers like friends, and this casual attitude doesn’t mean there’s no respect between them. Different children simply express their love and respect differently.
There must be both love and respect in our relationship with God. But some people’s relationships with God reflect more intimacy than reverence, and others show more reverence than intimacy. As a result, their trust toward God is expressed differently. Some people express their trust by praying for miracles when they encounter difficulties. Others express theirs by praying for the power to endure them. Both trust God, but express their trust differently.
I believe that the types of miracles recorded in the New Testament should be repeated in house churches if the house church is truly the New Testament church. Jesus made the blind see, the mute hear, and the crippled walk. So every morning, I pray for our church members who are legally blind to see, for other members who have hearing problems to hear, and for other members who are paralyzed below the waist to walk. I do this because I trust God, who has miraculous power.
Joni Erickson Tada is different. She broke her neck as a teenager when she dove into shallow water and was paralyzed below the neck. She can move around in a wheelchair only with someone’s help. I had the opportunity to listen to her speak. Although she was crippled, her face was radiant, and I thought to myself that our heavenly bodies may look like hers. She has accepted her condition and no longer prays for God to make her body whole. Instead, she tries to live a joyful life with what she has and encourages people by speaking and writing to those in dire situations. For her, accepting her condition, instead of trying to change it, is how she expresses her trust in God.
Our trust in God should be expressed in both ways. Sometimes we need to trust in God’s power and ask for miracles. Sometimes we need to trust in His sovereignty and ask for the strength to endure hardships. However, it’s difficult to keep a perfect balance; at any point in time, we tend to be inclined towards one or the other. But when we find people leaning in the opposite direction from ours, we shouldn’t criticize them for not trusting God.
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