DEEPER HOPE

Deeper Hope:

An Abiding Virtue

This book explores the meaning -- and application -- of Christian Hope. It takes the fuzzy concept of Hope and reveals it in everyday settings

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Five Passages I find Hard to Believe

One night I had this discussion with some people I respect: is there anything in the Bible that you find difficult to believe? It was a get-real conversation. Kind of like the guy who begged Jesus to heal his son: he said to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9: 22 – 24)

Honestly, I’m not sure I would trust someone who said they cold wrap their mind around everything revealed in the Bible. So “un-follow” this blog if you must, but I’m going to put my weakness on display. God is way bigger than my intellect, and to prove my point, I present five passages I find difficult to believe.

1 AND 2). “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:40) After describing incredible heroes of faith, the writer of Hebrews concludes the chapter with two astonishing nuggets. God has planned something better for us. I’d kill to have the faith of any one of these people, but apparently there’s more, and it’s better, and it’s for us. AND only together with us would they be made perfect. Are you kidding me? Something is lacking in the experiences of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and well, the whole list—and they are looking to us for the fulfillment of their experiences. No wonder there is a great cloud of witnesses looking on. They are counting on us! Like the guy said, I believe, but help me in my unbelief.

3). “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 3:10) To begin with, I have no clear idea who the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" are. I suppose when the Almighty wants to chill at a celestial Starbucks (think Job, chapter 1), these are the guys he hangs with. That’s strange enough, but while they are waiting for the java to cool down and God wants to put his multifaceted wisdom on display, he says, “Hey, take a look at the church.” Are you kidding me? I love my local church, but it hardly reaches the level of manifesting all of God’s wisdom.

4). “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) OK, I know Jesus is going to chide me later, but for right now, holy cow! First of all, Jesus uses really strong language. When he opens up with “I tell the truth” it means, “read my lips, I’m not kidding.” Second, it’s in the singular: “anyone” and “he.” My favorite cop-out on this verse used to be that it was the aggregate works of all believers in all times but there’s no way you can read it like that. He means me, and then he means you. Since I’m being honest (and it’s the last time you’ll ever read this blog) I’ll admit I’d settle for just doing the stuff he did.

5). “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1: 3 – 4) The reason I have so much trouble with these two verses is that they lay so much responsibility at my feet. He’s given us everything we need. Well then, go get ‘em. It’s a one-two punch: Peter also says that through God's promises we may participate in the divine nature. What do you think the "divine nature" is? I don’t know, but it’s got to be good!

BONUS ROUND: This one isn’t mine, but it’s too good to leave out. My friend has trouble with Judges 15: 4, “So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs.” It’s from one of the Samson stories, and it stretches one of my good friends. “300 foxes?!?” he said. "Do you know how hard it is to catch just one of those critters?"

How about you? Care to share any passages that stretch your faith?

Reader Comments (2)

Ray, thanks for your honesty. Sometimes it's hard for those of us in ministry to admit that we struggle with some of the things the Bible says. However, it is true. I guess my list if I were to list them would be way long, but one verse that I've struggled with is: "ALL things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." I know in my heart this is true, but sometimes with my eyes and understanding I just struggle with it. Also, Joshua calling for the sun to stand still, casting mountains into the sea, and lots more cause me some trepidation.

Keep up the good word, brother. Love reading your thoughts.

May 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbd

Ray, thanks for your honesty. Sometimes it's hard for those of us in ministry to admit that we struggle with some of the things the Bible says. However, it is true. I guess my list if I were to list them would be way long, but one verse that I've struggled with is: "ALL things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." I know in my heart this is true, but sometimes with my eyes and understanding I just struggle with it. Also, Joshua calling for the sun to stand still, casting mountains into the sea, and lots more cause me some trepidation.

Keep up the good word, brother. Love reading your thoughts.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbd

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