Dance, Jesus, Dance
Matthew 12:38,39 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign but no sign will be given…”
When I was young, I prayed many times for God to prove himself to me. Just flicker the lights or wiggle the curtain, right now… Nothing. I just wanted some assurance of his existence and I could not understand why He would not reveal himself. If He was God and if He could wiggle the curtain, why would He not?
I would love to be able to say the foolishness of my childhood is gone but it has just evolved into grown up foolishness. I still do this to God. I tell God that I will follow or do for him, if only He will do something for me first.
I have walked a path for years, only to find myself in a place I did not want to be. I then asked God to magically transport me out of the disaster. I will start following you God, if only you do this thing for me. I saw God as my secret weapon. I thought I could study for a C and pray for an A. If you are God, prove it. Get me out of this and then I will follow you.
The Pharisees did the same. They did not follow Jesus but they wanted to see him perform. They demanded that He provide a demonstration. Dance, Jesus, dance. We will believe and follow if you can prove yourself to us.
Jesus rebuked them harshly, insisting that this is not how faith works. Faith does not demand that God prove himself. Matthew records Jesus performing many works of healing but they all occurred after the individual went to Jesus in faith. Those healed by Jesus pursued him because they believed in him and acted accordingly.
The Pharisees were not acting out of faith. They did not believe in Jesus and they did not follow him. Faith keeps its eyes on God and follows him no matter what. The Pharisees were not going to follow until Jesus performed for them. Jesus rebuked this demand and walked away.
The lesson for me, is that faith does not mean I get to demand magical signs from him as proof of his existence. I do not get to study for a C and pray for an A. If I want him to work in my life, I need to put in the daily effort of pursuing a relationship with him. I cannot walk a thousand miles in one direction and expect that, because I am a Christian, I can end up in the opposite direction.
Faith does not mean I circumvent the way God made the world. I reap what I sow. This is how God made the universe to work. Faith is pursuing God daily and then watching God work in my life. Anti-faith is insisting that I am not moving until God does for me. God does not dance for me.