What if Moses had not raised his staff or stretched out his hand over the sea? Would the waters of the Red Sea have parted for the Israelites to cross on dry ground?
What if Joshua had not had the priests with their trumpets and the army march around the wall seven times and then shout? Would the wall of Jericho have fallen?
What if the man who was blind from birth had never gone to wash in the Pool of Siloam after Jesus put spit and mud on his eyes? Would he have remained blind?
What if Ananias had not gone to that particular house, on that particular street to lay his hands on the eyes of Saul (Paul)? Would Saul’s eyesight have been restored?
The question is not whether God could have done all of these things. God’s sovereignty is undeniable. The question is whether they would have walked into the fullness of the destiny that God had prepared for them had they decided to not faithfully follow through with the actions that they were called to carry out. Even in just these few biblical examples, the actions can seem a bit odd. Not unlike some of the unusual actions that we see today.
Consider this an invitation to use your imagination to look through the lenses of someone who has never stepped foot into a church building before. At any particular time, they will see people with heads bowed, eyes closed, hands folded, hands clapping, hands joined together with others, arms reaching up, arms extended all toward the same thing/person, hands raised as if waiting to receive something, people standing, sitting, face down on the ground, kneeling, dancing and people laying hands on other people. Maybe this is the first time you’ve really stopped to think about these actions. For me, these actions are not ritualistic or ceremonial; they are an outward reflection of the inner attitude of my heart at that moment.
When Ananias physically laid his hands on Saul’s eyes, it was how he displayed to God that he was willing to step out in faith and position himself in such a way that came in agreement with all that God had purposed. And when we actively respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, regardless of how odd or unusual it may seem at the time, our actions become a declaration to Father God that reveals the “Yes and Amen” that is resounding in the very depths of our heart and soul. These actions demonstrate our inner desire to partner with God; our desire to see His kingdom come, for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God once walked in the garden with us humans, and He sent His Son to restore that broken relationship. Undivided, intimate love is what God desires most from us (Matthew 22:37). We can cry out night and day to our heavenly Father, professing our love for Him. But we know from Isaiah 29:13, that love is more than carefully assembled words, as beautiful as they may sound. Father God blesses us with opportunities to show Him that the deepest desire of our heart is to know Him, to love Him and to partner with Him. Our love for Him looks like many things.
But responding to those opportunities is a choice. Moses raised his staff and stretched out his hand over the sea, and God parted the waters. Joshua marched around a wall and shouted, and God made the wall collapse. The blind man washed in the pool, and God restored his sight. Ananias laid his hands on Saul, and God removed the scales from eyes and filled him with the Holy Spirit. Are you willing to respond?
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Written by: Joanna Winters