We live in a sense-crazed age where everyone seems to be crying out, "Touch me. Make me feel good. Thrill me. Move me. Excite me. Entertain me. Satisfy me." This blend of existential/relativism has moved right into the churches and living rooms of many of our Christian homes and taken up residence in our lives.
Gone are the days, it seems, when we would prove our love and loyalty to God by faithfully sticking by His Word when everyone else was deserting it or twisting it to their own ends. Fading fast are the memories of spiritual giants who would tenaciously endure bitterness and disappointments of life while joyfully anticipating that Better Day and Better Land where all tears and pain will cease.
It seems there's a different kind of wind blowing now. Those who are thrill seekers are busily commanding God to do anything and everything for them that their hearts desire — seeking a fresh miracle to convince themselves He still cares. Those who are content to be abased or to suffer loss in God's will and for His sake are considered foolish, and are sometimes accused of lacking the faith to overcome.
Today's brand of religious zealot (call him a Christian, if you like) seems to be able to make it in life only as she is moved along from one spiritual high or challenge to another. She's been brainwashed (often willingly) to believe it is her right to expect, and even demand, a daily miracle from God; to be so "on top of things" that she need never be disappointed, physically run down, sick, or in financial straits. God to her is more her high than her Savior and Lord. Such dreamers seem to think that God is somewhat of an all-powerful, all-willing heavenly errand boy, ready to do their bidding according to their own emotional whims.
Such an attitude toward God is awfully close to blasphemy! And, sadly, many who claim to be firm Bible-believers are falling into this same sense-dominated trap.
Getting on the Band Wagon
It's appalling how many otherwise good men are now speaking the same smooth language of the zealous charlatans who use God to manipulate people. Everyone seems to be involved in a "miracle-something-or-other" and are asking the Christian public to foot the bill. I was always under the impression that a miracle was something God did without the addition of our two cents worth (or our $5, $50, or $100!).
The Lord is still the God of the miraculous, but we should not treat Him as our genie in a bottle. He is still all-powerful, but He will not grant every wish of ours if we are requesting something outside of His perfect will. He is not honored by the "name it and claim it" teaching and preaching of those who habitually take Bible verses out of context to suit their desires and greed. Their gullible church members and other followers are being led down a dead-end street by the unscriptural and offensive tactic of urging people to give money to a ministry so that God will give back to them a multiplied amount. God is not the power behind many of the so-called "miracles" that are claimed in His name (see Matthew 7:22–23).
A Different Spirit is Found in the Bible
How very different the language and experiences of the apostle Paul:
Did Paul reach the point in his life where he wished that he were dead?
Paul faced much difficultly in life. It could not be said of him that he was never sick, never run down, or never discouraged. But clearly, one thing can be said of Paul — he did not treat God like a genie in a bottle. Instead he was faithful. In the good times and bad, while healthy or sick, while being abased or abounding, he was faithful! No wonder this is the man God chose to write: "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2). No other word could fill the void that would be left if we removed "faithful" from this verse. Others, perhaps, would like to replace it with words such as: successful, large, charismatic, zealous, intelligent, powerful, popular, prosperous, ecumenical, polished, or dynamic. But no other word adequately fits. It is the one quality God chose to identify true stewards of Christ who teach and practice His message and all that He stands for. Unfortunately, it is such a rare quality. Solomon said it so well: "Most men will proclaim each his own goodness [or worth], but who can find a faithful man?" (Proverbs 20:6).
Trusting God at All Times and in All Circumstances
It is just as important to be faithful to God in daily routines as it is to trust Him to guide us through life’s trying and traumatic situations. Such faith and trust brings much greater glory to Him than our insistence on having a miraculous "sign" to verify that He still cares for us and is in control.
This attitude was so beautifully displayed by Daniel's three Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were faithful to their God in not bowing down to a false God. They had never done so. They were faithful to the true and living God at all times and in all circumstances. They knew God was able to deliver them and were confident that He would deliver them. But if He didn't, they would still be faithful, even if it meant dying in the process (see Daniel 3:16–18).
Their refusal to bow down, and their willingness to commit the whole situation to God, was a moving declaration on their part of how confident they were of God's faithfulness to them! Such faithfulness on our part must be built upon the sure foundation that our precious Lord can always be trusted in every situation. In other words, our faithfulness to Him ought to be a natural response to His faithfulness to us. This principle of responding to God as He has already responded to us is illustrated in 1 John 4:19 concerning His love. We love Him because He first loved us. A chorus many of us sang in our youth says it so well:
After all He's done for me,
After all He's done for me;
How can I do less
Than give Him my best,
And live for Him completely —
After all He's done for me.
A Testimony to God's Faithfulness
The miraculous has always had an overwhelming attraction to the multitudes. It was true in Christ's day, and it is true today. But strangely, the miraculous generally does not have staying power. By that I mean that seeking miracles is almost like being on a drug: periodically you need a fresh fix, another thrill, a new high. We must not forget that the Lord Jesus Christ stated on two occasions: "an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign" — or, miracle (Matthew 12:39; 16:4).
On the other hand, what will ultimately attract your unsaved neighbor, co-worker, and school friend to Christ will be your genuine trust in your heavenly Father no matter what comes your way. When others see that through the most severe trials you faithfully trust in your God, they will come to realize that such a God must be worth knowing.
If we who know Christ are to have a lasting impact on others, we must settle it once-and-for-all that "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). Such faithfulness on our part points directly to the faithfulness of God; otherwise, why would we keep on trusting Him? He proves Himself absolutely dependable; therefore, we must trust Him for all things and in all things.