How much of our view of God (or our understanding of God) is second-hand; as in
"you heard it from people like me in rooms like this?"
He followed this up with:
"How much have you discovered for yourself from Scripture and from experience?"
John then helped me to read Matthew chapter 8 with fresh eyes. The story that starts in verse 5 is partly about how this man perceived Jesus (or understood Jesus).
I invite you to skim the story again. As I read it again, I noticed the willingness of Jesus to heal, to help, to rescue from torment. There's no real hoops to jump through first, he doesn't have to wave his hands in the air ("C'mon people, lift God up!"), or pray a magic prayer and say it right, or sit in the front rows (where the good Christians sit).
Neither do we.
The man discovers for himself that when you appeal to God's compassion with a trust in his ability, He's there for ya!
John finished his chat with the point that we "believers" don't usually struggle with whether God can (help), but whether He will.
As you skim that chapter, there's a couple of questions that I find helpful, passed on to me through the writing of Jim Peterson:
- Who is Jesus? What kind of person is He?
- What is He asking me to do?