“Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. There they saw the God of Israel, and under his feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky”(Exodus 24:9-10).
Many times (Many. Times.) I’ve heard people say, “If God is real, why doesn’t he . . . ” How would you like to be in this group, who got to go with Moses and see God first hand? They physically got to view the one who just freed them from slavery with miracle after mind-bending miracle. Then, all but Moses and Joshua went back down the mountain. The people in this group waited a few weeks, and when Moses still didn’t come down, they made a golden cow idol, telling everyone to worship it as the symbol of their freedom. A cow.
I’ve had many miraculous things happen in my life, but I don’t think any of them have ever convinced anyone that God is real. Our minds are able to fix on a reality and dismiss anything that doesn’t fit into it.
I’m grateful for chemotherapy, but it left me with neuropathy in my feet, legs, hands, and face. When a friend prayed for me, some of the most intense pain stopped. Recently, while ministering in India, about 95% of the remaining pain left, and most of the numbness, and it hasn’t returned. When I share this with people, the response I get is usually something like, “Well, good for you.” Or, “That’s nice. How ’bout this weather, huh?” It just doesn’t fit into the worldview.
Our mindsets get molded by so many things. Our upbringing, environment, and history all shape how we see the world. So many I know have had their perspectives formed around all the bad things that have happened to them. They expect more of the same, and so see life, and God, as indifferent or even cruel, and spend much of their energy steeling themselves against the next bad thing that might happen. Even if they saw God with their own eyes, they’d still return to a self-willed, or even orphaned mentality once they couldn’t see him any longer. We’ve all had our own cows.
I used to argue theology and debate philosophical ideas. Maybe it was to convince myself as much as it was to try to win an argument and call it evangelism. All I know is that somewhere along the line I knocked the cow over. I stayed on the mountain until I got past religious expectations and my own doubts. I stayed in his presence until my mindset changed. I risked keeping my heart open to him until the orphan truly realized he’d been permanently adopted.
No, I haven’t had all my questions answered. But I’ve been given more than enough love for my heart to trust for what my mind doesn’t know. I can’t convince anyone of anything. All I can do is hold the door open with a smile that comes from the depths of my soul.
I invite you to stay on the mountain with Jesus until you can see who he is for you, who you are in him, and despite all that’s happened to you, to see the brilliant and beautiful life that’s possible for all the cow-tippers.