One of my recent word studies in the NT texts involves the distinction of the greek “pneuma” (spirit), “sark” (flesh), and “psyche” (mind/soul).
The Hebrews as well as the 1st century Christian Jews had accepted these distinctions when defining the separate characteristics of the human being, which they believed was composed of these three elements.
As apologists, we rely very much on the “psyche” or the mind, in providing reasons for our faith. And as a consequence, we become very reliant on our reasoning and our ability to think and without our knowing, has largely affected the way we conduct ourselves as well as in making critical decisions, which should involve prayer. After all, we have submitted ourselves to the Eternal King who hears our prayers.
These past few weeks have been very trying and stressful, involving both work and pressures to keep up with demands for my family as well as the workplace. In all this, though I remained prayerful, I have to admit that I may have been overly rational about strategizing and making decisions that I may have overlooked the fact that the One that I was praying to should have remained foremost in my considerations for making these decisions.
What was I to assume? Having come from a shallow worldview and believing that God would shower abundance on me if I “did the right things” and pressed the right buttons – and for a time, it did work that way – and much later on, I am called out for listening to a “prosperity” gospel and believing it.
From there, I began to assume that it was wrong and presumptuous for me to expect anything extraordinary from the Living God because we should be content with what we have and no more.
Add to that, I became very rational in my approach to life because of the extensive training my mind acquired because of thinking things through as an apologist wanna be, and everything became linear and sequential as a process.
What happened just several days ago was to say the least, completely overwhelming.
In a situation where I had nowhere to turn to anymore, and no more reasonable ways to resolve my problems – the Living God manifested Himself in a very huge way: to myself, to my family and a few close friends whom I had asked to pray for us. It was nothing that we were prepared for and something that I thought that I would never again experience, because it was just too much for me to hope for from the One whose resources and providence is always infinite, in contrast to the finitude of our thinking.
To say that I was humbled is an understatement. I still feel like kicking myself and serving my own foot on two slices of bread to myself for underestimating the Living God in terms of hearing us and much more, answering my prayers as well as my family’s and those who prayed with us during this specially trying time and responding in a really big way, far beyond what we thought of was actually possible.
Many well meaning Western influenced Christian friends always cautioned me in the past for being so presumptuous about God’s favor and always “admonished” me to scale down my expectations and live with what is available and be thankful. Of course, that’s the reasonable thing to do.
But with what just happened for us, I am resolved to address the imbalance in my view and pound on myself to remember – the Living God DOES intervene, as He has in the past and He is the same God that we ALL believe in, no matter how much or little we do. And yes, HE has manifested Himself in a big way in impossible situations in scripture and in our lives in the past and that does not preclude similar possibilities in the future. Even if we don’t think it right to presume that He will do so.
Because He can, He will – when He chooses to. And from what we know, it’s more than half of the time for what we pray for, and when we pray.
There is nothing wrong in being rational. What is wrong is if we behave in such a way that everything we do and think should be assumed from that platform, and nothing else. Because “…Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” ( 1 Cor 2:9 Net Bible)