From: John ZuHone
Today's readings have a thread running through them: God is powerful. The psalms for today speak of the mighty power of God in the natural world. In the OT reading, Moses' staff becomes a snake by God working through him. In our NT reading, Jesus drives out demons and heals the sick.
It's often said in one way or another, "I would be more convinced that God existed if I saw a miracle first-hand." Certainly, Jesus' healings and the miraculous acts of the apostles following his resurrection convinced many that they spoke for God. But as today's readings also demonstrate, it is possible even in the face of strong evidence to deny God is at work. In Psalm 94, the wicked attack widows, immigrants, and orphans, and sneer: "The Lord doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention." Pharaoh's sorcerers pulled off the same snake trick as Moses—and Pharaoh hardens his heart. The people in Nazareth loved Jesus' works, but got so mad at what he said that they tried to throw him over a cliff. It seems likely, then, that we too may still have trouble believing in Jesus even if he performed a miracle right in front of us.
It seems like God has decided to provide evidence of himself and yet not make it so obvious that we are forced to believe in him. Why? I wish there was a simple answer. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that God has made us as free creatures and not robots. The good news is that Jesus doesn't require us to be fully convinced or have all of our questions answered before he will reach out to us—in his grace, he works with our doubts and encourages our questions, with the goal of building our faith and trust in him. We can come to Jesus, crucified and resurrected for us, with faith as small as a mustard seed, and he will make it grow.
I’m an astrophysicist at the Harvard Observatory, studying galaxy clusters and X-ray astronomy. I enjoy spending time with my wife, having good conversation with friends, reading books, and playing the occasional Mario game.