Day 26: Is It Hard for You to Believe?
While I was a missionary in Brazil, my friend, Sebastão, invited me to his hometown of Marecã, a spot-in-the-road town about seventy miles from Rio de Janeiro. He was a twenty-six-year-old factory worker who had visited our congregation and was involved in a Bible study. Slow-talking, tall, gangly; this fellow was no city slicker. He was a bit too honest, simple, and quick to smile to have any roots in the urban jungle.
I welcomed the opportunity to see some of the Brazilian countryside. What I didn't know, however, was that I was about to learn a lesson on faith.
Waiting for us when we arrived was Sebastão's father, Senhor José. He certainly did not look his seventy plus years. Eyes shaded by an old straw hat, he smiled a toothless grin when he saw us. His barreled brown chest and narrow waist testified to thousands of hours of hoeing and planting. His flat bare feet were stained the color of the soil and his hands were crusty and thick.
"Good to have you," he welcomed. You could tell he meant it.
Senior José took me on a tour through his segment of the world. For thirty-seven years he had plowed and tilled his two acres. It was obvious that he knew every hole and turn.
"I fed fourteen mouths off this land," he smiled, fingering a lettuce plant. "Where did you say you were from?"
"What do you do here?"
I explained a bit about my work. He did not respond immediately, but I could tell he was thinking.
"A missionary, huh? Your job must be pretty easy."
"How's that?" I asked.
"I have no trouble believing in God. After I see what he has done on my little farm, year after year, it is easy to believe." He smiled another toothless grin and yelled to his wife to bring out some beans.
As we drove home, I couldn't help thinking about Senior José. My, what a simple life. No traffic jams, airline schedules, or long lines. Far removed from Wall Street, IRS, and mortgages.
I thought of his faith, his ability to believe, and his surprise that there were some who couldn't. I compared his faith with others I knew had more difficulty believing; a university student, a wealthy import-export man, an engineer. There was such a difference between José and the others.
His faith was rooted in the simple miracles that he witnessed every day:
A small seed becoming a towering tree.
A thin stalk pushing back the earth.
A rainbow arching in the midst of the thundercloud.
It was easy for him to believe. I can see why. Someone who witnesses God's daily display of majesty doesn't find the secret of Easter absurd. Someone who depends upon the mysteries of nature for his livelihood doesn't find it difficult to depend on an unseen God for his salvation.
"Nature," wrote Jonathan Edwards, "is God's greatest evangelist."
"Faith," wrote Paul, "does not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."(1 Corinthians 2:5).
"God's testimony," wrote David, "makes wise the simple" (Psalm 19:7).
God's testimony. When was the last time you witnessed it? A stroll through knee-high grass in a green meadow. An hour listening to seagulls or looking at seashells on the beach. Or witnessing the shafts of sunlight brighten the snow on a crisp winter dawn. Miracles that almost match the magnitude of the empty tomb happen all around us; we only have to pay attention.
By Max Lucado. Excerpted from No Wonder They Call Him the Savior.