IF GOD IS A CRUTCH,
LET ME HAVE TWO!
by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Are religious experiences only for weak-minded people? Is reading the Bible and praying really a waste of time? And is God only a convenient crutch for failures?
Still, others say, “My religion is a private matter - I don’t discuss my faith publicly”. This reminds me of an ancient legend told among the American Cheyenne Indians, who lived in an isolated village on the edge of a forest.
It was routine practice for the adults to sneak out of the village, one by one, and follow a path through the forest, to a little silvery stream.
Making sure no one was watching they would walk over the stream on a little log, made smooth by many moccasins, peer into the water at their own reflection, and begin to talk to the stream, pouring out their innermost feelings. Doing this made them feel good.
Although all the adults made the secret pilgrimage regularly, no one told anyone about it: However, everyone knew that they all did it.
One day, two children from the village found the pathway and the little stream. Walking out on the log, they saw their reflection in the water and found themselves talking to the stream, and it made them also feel very good.
Full of joy at this new experience, they rushed back to the village to tell the adults what had happened. But the adults were offended and felt threatened. They picked up stones and chased the children out of the village.
The moral of the legend, according to the Cheyenne, is that everyone needs to talk to someone...but since it is a sign of weakness to tell someone your innermost feelings, you dare not let anyone know.
We were created with a desire to talk and relate to others our deep hurts, desires, and problems, but with whom can we discuss them? Our fellow human beings are as weak as we are, with as many hang-ups and troubles as ourselves.
In the Indian legend, the Cheyenne saw their reflection moving in the water and thought it was a supernatural being - and poured out their heart in a form of prayer. But because they were a very proud tribe, they wouldn’t admit it publicly, much like us today.
WE PRAY TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER!
We do not pray to the water, sun, moon, or stones, but to the living God who made us and all those objects. And praise be to our Heavenly Father, who hears and answers our prayers when we approach Him in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Recently a survey was done across the USA to ascertain who people turn to, when in a crisis. Not surprisingly, the majority sought counsel, solace, and help from their personal friends, relatives, neighbours, and minister. Very few received help from professional counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
I think that tells us something. It is far more effective to talk to someone who knows you well and who cares about your life than to a professional who is a stranger. And that is why pastors and other members of the Church are so important to us all when a crisis arises in our lives!
More and more, medical doctors are realizing that valium is not the remedy they believed it was a few years ago and that people's problems are often spiritually related.
One doctor, when asked by his hospital patients for sleeping pills, quietly asks, “Why don’t you read the Bible and pray, and then just relax”? Invariably they will fall asleep without needing the pills, says the wise doctor.
PRAYER IS A TWO-WAY STREET: WE TALK TO GOD & HE SPEAKS TO US!
Prayer is a powerful stimulant as well as a great relaxant, depending on the need. Prayer is a two-way street, with us talking to God and Him talking back to us, giving assurance, peace, and joy.
Jesus Christ said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) Again He said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8)
Our Lord stated, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:19-20)
During 60 years of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have witnessed outstanding answers to prayer, with changed lives and miracles of healing, to God’s glory and the good of humanity!
Note: I wrote this column for the Edmonton Sun twenty-five years ago. It is still valid today. M.S.
Max Solbrekken World Mission Box 44220 RPO Garside Edmonton AB T5V 1N6; Email: [email protected]; comehometojesus.ca; Facebook; Youtube; Blog: MSWM. Donations can be made by e-Transfer. Make your donation to [email protected]. Thank you and may God bless you!