Back in the 80's, a tall Nigerian man came to the University of Houston. He was athletic and enjoyed playing soccer, but played few of the American sports. Guy Lewis, coach of the U.H. basketball team, saw this towering Nigerian (close to seven feet), and invited him to try out for basketball. After watching this young man move on the court, Coach Lewis saw the potential of a great athlete. Within a few years Akeem Olajuwon became a dominant force on the college basketball court. I can recall Olajuwon's broken English in a commercial for Houston Cougar basketball, calling his new found sport "un-be-liev-able." And some of the things that Akeem Olajuwon did on the basketball court were pretty unbelievable!
As I ponder, I find several things that I would consider unbelievable:
- I think it's unbelievable that a 747 airplane can fly and a cruise ship doesn’t sink!
- I think it's unbelievable that thousands of words can be stored on a tiny computer chip!
- I think it’s unbelievable that a space ship can leave earth, circle the moon, and then land back on earth!
- I think it is unbelievable that we can hear a loved one's voice thousands of miles away over a tiny cell phone!
- I think it is unbelievable that people eat kelp!
- I think it's unbelievable that I survived an accident, when a tractor trailer truck hit the van I was driving, on a snowy winter night in 1973!
- I think it is unbelievable that Kim would put up with me for 40 years!
- I think it is unbelievable that I have made a hole-in-one in golf!
- I think it's unbelievable that I found contact lenses when they fell between cushions of a chair, on gym floors, in grass, and under a car seat!
- I think it's unbelievable that I have been at the same church for over 29 years!
- I think it’s unbelievable that God would send His Son to die for my sins!
Come to think about it, there are a lot of unbelievable moments in all of our lives. One unbelievable moment in Scripture was when God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. With Pharaoh's army hot on their trail, and no visible means of escape, God provided an unbelievable means of deliverance- He parted the Red Sea. After the Israelites walked between walls of water and saw the Egyptians destroyed, the children of Israel stood on the sea shore dancing and singing praises to God for their dramatic rescue. Scripture says "the people believed the Lord" (Exodus 14:31). But how long did their faith in God last? Just 72 hours! They had witnessed an unbelievable miracle, a demonstration of God's love, power, and deliverance and seventy two hours later, they bickered and complained about their situation. Un-be-liev-able!
The Israelites are not the only ones who do such unbelievable things! It's unbelievable that a husband will tell his wife "I'll fix it tomorrow," only to forget the whole conversation when tomorrow comes. It's unbelievable that a young man will tell one girl that he loves her one day and another girl the same thing the next day. It's unbelievable that a company will give one estimate to a man and a different estimate to a woman. It's unbelievable that a woman will trust God with her Sunday School class, but not with her family. It's unbelievable that a person can sing praises to God on Sunday and curse His name on Monday. It's unbelievable that a man can ask God for wisdom, but refuse to use the wisdom that God gives him. It's unbelievable that a man can say he has faith in God and yet not be willing to love his neighbor. It’s unbelievable that God shows grace and mercy to us, but we are not willing to show grace and mercy to others.
As I think about it, it is unbelievable that God would love and continue to love us, when we do such unbelievable things. But that's the unbelievable God of the scriptures! He cares for the undesirable; He forgives the unworthy; He loves the unlovable; He gives joy to the unhappy; He gives purity to the unholy; He gives identity to the unknown; He gives a home to the unwanted; He gives recognition to the unnoticed; He gives stability to the unsettled; and He gives confidence to the unsure. That’s the unbelievable God that we have and worship!
Pastor Mike Kotrla