God Desires to Turn Messes into Miracles
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OUR SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS
The primary illustration “Pastor Sam,” as he’s called, uses throughout his new book is the biblical account of the blind man healed by Jesus:
“As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must carry out the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6 When He had said this, He spit on the ground, and made mud from the saliva, and applied the mud to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he left and washed, and came back seeing.” John 9:1-7
With both believers and unbelievers in mind, he points out the parallel between physical and spiritual sight, and that which exists between this blind man and all people. “Spiritually, seeing goes beyond our physical, intellectual and emotional senses and abilities and becomes a matter of faith, which matures over time as we learn to trust God for all we need and in all areas of our lives. Faith requires confidence in what usually cannot be seen by our human faculties,” Pastor Sam teaches.
“No matter how healthy, wealthy, and stealthy someone may be, their spiritual vision relies on their relationship with Jesus Christ.” He says we need a fresh perspective to replace the often blurred one we rely on. “How often do we realize that our longing for more of God in our lives is already present and available? We assume that we will have more power, more peace, more joy and purpose someday when we are more spiritually mature. But often we are waiting on God to move in our lives, to answer our prayers or to reveal our next steps when God is waiting on us to see what is right in front of us,” he says.
When it comes to God making miracles out of our messes, Pastor Sam points to several current examples in American society today: One is the outpouring of prayer for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin after his January 2, 2023 cardiac arrest during a game. Another is the month-long revival at Asbury University, and the many which have sprung up around the country since then. Lastly, he says the response to the new movie, Jesus Revolution, the biopic of Pastors Greg Laurie, Chuck Smith, and evangelist Lonnie Frisbee, has exceeded all expectations, grossing $45 million.
GOD’S ORIGINAL DESIGN
To help us see all of life more clearly, Pastor Sam goes back to the beginning:
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” He adds, “Just as Jesus did with the blind man, God the Father instilled life into dust to create something new.” Genesis 2:7
Referring to what he calls “subjective bias,” he acknowledges that we often do not see God, others, or ourselves rightly. “You see, the story you tell yourself about your identity, your purpose and your relationships – including how you view God – develops in large part by how you draw conclusions based on your life experiences. Simply put, most of us develop false beliefs based on inaccurate assumptions, others’ opinions, subjective bias, and traumatic experiences that distort the truth of who God says we are, how He wants us to live, and the purpose He created us to fulfill.”
OUR TRUE IDENTITY
“You are what you believe,” Pastor Sam states emphatically. Unlike some people, Pastor Sam says he was blessed to grow up with “amazing parents and grandparents,” who were constantly affirming and encouraging him. He also knows that our hurts and failings often tell us the opposite of biblical truth, and offers these reminders:
• In God’s original plan, you are not blind.
• In God’s original plan, you are not an addict.
• In God’s original plan, you are not an alcoholic.
• In God’s original plan, you are not broken.
• In God’s original plan, you are not full of anxiety.
• You are not how you were.
• You are not what others did to you.
• You are not what you did to yourself.
• You are who God says you are.
• You are what God says you are.
• You are an overcomer!
When asked how he responds to people when it seems to them that God isn’t “blessing their mess,” and their hopes have been dashed, Pastor Sam replies this way: “The word ‘miracle’ has short-term and long-term consequences, both temporal and eternal. Our way of interpreting life is often myopic and deficient.” He gives the example of physical healing, and says it will always take place, though sometimes not until glory. “I do believe it’s God’s will that most miracles take place on this side of eternity to elevate our faith.”
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