The Bible records a time when Jesus told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. People looking on complained that this was blasphemy. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” they asked. So to prove a point, Jesus told the man to pick up his makeshift stretcher and walk, which he did. To that, the crowd simply declared “We have seen strange things today.”
As a follower of God’s Son for more than three decades, I’ve also seen some strange things. Interestingly, much of what I’ve observed revolves around the same two points in the Bible story: forgiveness, and miracles – or the absence of miracles.
A confessed murderer who truly found God in his cell was somehow released after just a few years … A former mob enforcer who escaped the life became a musician in a Christian rock band … A sincere brother in the faith made a horrible mistake resulting in him becoming a registered sex offender, but he now lives with relative joy and peace.
Some cry “Unfair” at stories like these. More than unfair, in fact, as the people in the Bible said, it almost seems like blasphemy for undeserving sinners to exist as though they were let off the hook.
Equally unfair in my mind are the many sincere Believers I know who struggle with depression, disease, financial difficulties and the like. They cry out to God, but God remains silent.
There are those who try to find reasons for such inconsistencies. But the conclusion of the onlookers in the Biblical account rings much more true to me. When dealing with Jesus, the phrase “We have seen strange things today” is sometimes the only satisfactory explanation to be found.