When I was growing up my grandparents false teeth fascinated me.
Their teeth sitting in a glass by their bedsides seemed curiously strange but yet the idea of being able to take your teeth out oddly interested me. In fact I think I can even remember asking my parents why I couldn’t take my teeth out as well.
A psychologist could probably have a field day with that confession but I vaguely remember a while ago seeing a documentary about big predators that sadly succumbed to natures brutal law of the survival of the fittest because they became toothless. The main focus as I remember was Lions or tigers and as age, disease or power struggles had caught up with them, tragically these big cats had lost their teeth. Frustratingly for them they still had enough speed and strength but without teeth they were essentially
Sometimes I wonder if that sad picture in nature resonates with some of the versions of Church/Christianity I have come across. CS Lewis observes of Aslan, in his last novel of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, “he is not a tame Lion.” Of course in his books Aslan strikes a clear resemblance to God, perhaps even rooted in the analogy in the Old Testament of God as the Lion of Judah.
I don’t know about you but one of the things I wrestled with as I made my mind up about my own personal beliefs was my experience of christianity often didn’t seem to match what I read in the bible. The bible seemed to be full of a supernatural God who’s glory and power broke out in all sorts of epic ways, parting large bodies of water, fire falling from heaven, never ending jars of oil and flour, chariots of fire, water turning into wine, terminal illness healed, dead people returning to life, even an account of what seems like teleportation. But that wasn’t exactly my experience and I wondered why?
Could christianity without the supernatural nature of God be like a tiger without its teeth?
Over the last 7 years I have considered it a privilege to learn and grow around people who have intentionally chosen to position themselves to welcome all of God. And most noteworthy pursue all of God for the benefit of our town, our communities and our world. It has been an exhilarating experience of discovery and understanding. Day to day it has been a pleasure to see God’s supernatural power in action. Cancer healed, broken bones knitted back together, deaf ears opened, spines straighten and self harm scars vanish to name a few. We’ve seen countless words of knowledge ring true and countless prophecies come to pass. It has been a truly remarkable learning curve.
As we embarked on the adventure of pioneering Because You’re Loved as an initiative God’s supernatural nature and the kind of miracles that happen when He shows up more tangibly were very much part of the culture we wanted to lean into. My hope has always been that it would never become just another social action project or evangelistic tract. But that as participants carry the very presence of God into their communities we would see His Kingdom breaking out all over the place, just like the way we see the ark of the covenant bring life to Obed-Edom’s house in 2 Samuel 6 when David left it there.
“He [David] was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the city of David. Instead he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household.” 2 Samuel 6 v 10-11
One of my favourite stories of the supernatural this year happened during one of our teams evening club provisions. Around Christmas time they saw 25+ young people invite Jesus to be part of their lives. On returning after Christmas they worked hard to intentionally disciple as many of these young people as possible, to help them continue to get to know Jesus and grow in relationship with him. Fast forward a few months to another Friday evening as they finished up one of their club sessions they invited anyone who needed any kind of healing to let them know and together with a handful of the young people who had made that wonderful decision only a few months before at Christmas they prayed for one young lady who had been born with two thumbs on one hand. The extra thumb had been removed but their was still a problem with the bone structure of the hand and that the young lady was due for another operation to correct it. Nothing particularly spectacular happened in that moment but a little while later the team received an email from the young ladies mother, thanking them for their prayer and reporting when they had been to the doctor to arrange the operation he had found that there was no longer any need to operate as the bone structure of the hand was now just as it should have been. Isn’t God incredible!
Long may our world come alive as we carry the presence of God with us and we dare to contend for the impossible.