Monday, April 15, 2024

Pulling Back the Curtain

Most folks enjoy watching a skilled magician or illusionist. We wonder in amazement, “How did he do that!?” Of course, we are also aware of the magicians’ code, that the secret must never be revealed. And yet, we have a natural craving to know, to see for ourselves how things work.

Many people approach life in the same way. Every mystery must be unveiled. Many seem to have adopted the motto from the State of Missouri, “Show Me.” Or, like Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, they simply must pull back the curtain to see what there is to see.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to see and understand, in wanting to unravel the mysteries of life. However, when it comes to our Christian faith, we must recognize that God did not reveal everything. In fact, he expects us to live by faith.

Now, this is not a made-up faith, that is, a faith based only on what you want to be true. It is not blind faith, that is, an imagined faith that has no basis in reality. Rather, it is faith based on God’s revelation and his promises.

We must be careful not to identify too closely to Thomas who openly declared, “Unless I see I will not believe.” You might feel as if you can relate to Thomas at some level. However, he refused to believe his fellow apostles who were eyewitnesses of the empty tomb and who had seen the resurrected Christ.

A brazen Show Me attitude can result in scoffing at God’s promises.

The person who demands that the curtain of mystery be drawn back may, like Thomas, question the resurrection of Christ.

A person who demands to satisfy a how-did-he-do-that curiosity may deny the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit.

When difficulties come, we may be tempted to ask, “Why?” when we do not understand. We instinctively believe that good things should happen to good people, and that bad things should happen to bad people. While that is not unreasonable, we also understand that life is filled with inequities. Life simply is not fair!

Even so, we often want to know...
  • Why did God allow that to happen to me?
  • Is God testing me?
  • Is Satan tempting me?
  • Is my difficulty simply an unfortunate event in the natural course of life?

Now think for a moment...
What if God did answer our question, “Why?” What if we discovered the source of our difficulties in life? Do the answers really change the way we should respond?

Jesus allowed Thomas to pull back the curtain by seeing and touching his scars. Yet He also rebuked the disciples who did not believe those who were eyewitnesses. (Mark 16:14)

We can be glad for the testimony of Thomas (the first Missourian?), but let’s not be like him. It is not seeing that makes one believe, but believing that gives one true insight!
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. 
 —Hebrews 11:6
The Bible is God’s testimony about Himself. He has given us a witness for Himself so that we can believe the promises of unseen things yet to be fulfilled. In many ways and on many occasions, God has already pulled back the curtain to reveal Himself to us. We can believe!

Mark Stinnett

April 14, 2024