I was reading the story of Sampson's parents this morning in
Judges 13 and I was struck with this question:
"What's it gonna take for people to believe?"
God does and has done so much for us and has provided so many miracles and proofs of His existence, mercy, love and purpose--what WILL it ultimately take for men and women to believe?
Sampson's father Manoah is a great example of what I'm talking about.
Manoah's wife had been unable to become pregnant. But after his wife sees an angel who says he knows she's been barren and then prophecies about the birth of her child, (Samson), who will free God's people from bondage, Manoah is still skeptical.
So...he prays for a second visitation and clarification. God hears and the angel appears to his wife again. She goes to get Manoah and he meets with the angel, but still isn't sure it's an angel at all (vs 16). He than asks for the angel's name, but the angel tells him that his name is "too wonderful for you to understand (Verse 18)."
At this point, if my wife had told me she'd seen an angel and he prophetically spoke into our lives and then professed to have a supernatural, other-worldly name--I would hope I'd be thinking..."Yep...he's an angel alright."
But not Manoah....
It's not until the angel has him offer a sacrifice and then flies up into the flames and ascends to heaven, that Manoah FINALLY realizes the truth. He says, "Now Me-know-ah that this was an angel!" (Not really...just kidding...couldn't resist...).
Rather, he really does recognize that this was a supernatural being and event. He's still confused though. He turns to his wife and says, "We will certainly die, for we have seen God (Verse 22)."
For starters, it was an ANGEL, not God. And his wife rightly notes that if God were going to kill them, He wouldn't have revealed this wonderful truth to them and done these miracles to begin with (Verse 23 paraphrased).
Still, to give him credit, after being surrounded with evidence, Manoah ultimately believes.
It's A Choice!
The fact is, we must choose to believe the truth. Just because something is true doesn't mean people automatically accept it. We see this every day in our culture. Even beyond issues of religious faith, people choose and/or refuse to accept the truth in life politically, morally, socially, financially, etc.
So in answer to my own question above, I've concluded that it's NOT going to take miracles, prophecies, signs or wonders for people to believe. It's going to take choice for men to believe. Facts are facts...and faith comes from this evidence (Rom. 10:17, Hebrews 1:1, etc.). Still...we must choose to believe.
I've made that choice and my goal is to help others do the same...every day!
To that end,