Circumstantial evidence - have you ever heard that term used? It means there is some form of evidence, but does it really prove whatever is being proven? Circumstantial evidence allows for more than one possibility to be presented - relying heavily upon 'inference' rather than a direct connection. My fingerprint on your phone doesn't mean I own it - it means I likely held it for a moment at some time. My DNA found in the genetic mapping of one of my children gives clear evidence that we are entirely related. One is circumstantial - inferring a connection; the other is direct evidence - confirming the connection without any doubt. God gives us direct evidence of his love for us in his Son - yet I wonder how many times we look at the 'circumstantial evidence' trying to convince us that God feels we still don't 'measure up'? We can give a whole lot of credence to 'circumstances' and forget there is one who has already made a direct connection that overrides those circumstances!
Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
We probably spend a great deal of our lives relying upon 'circumstantial evidence' in our lives. We settle for some form of connection, however weak it may be, instead of pressing for that direct evidence in our lives. Whenever we settle for less than the direct evidence of God's grace, love, and hope in our lives, we are falling short of what God intends for us. There is no room for 'inference' in God's house! Direct evidence is that which makes a connection via the shortest and straightest path. Now, doesn't that sound a little like how God likes to work in our lives? He isn't impressed with the long, drawn out prayers - he is drawn to our simple, truthful, and transparent ones. God isn't going to scold us for those long ones, but he would sure rather we get down to business with him instead of pussy-footing around all the time!
When we choose to allow God to take a 'direct course' in our lives, we are not allowing what are called 'collateral' courses to develop. If you look at the miracle of our circulatory system, you will begin to understand a 'collateral' course. When a blood vessel in our heart begins to experience some form of narrowing or blockage, our body has a way of forming what is referred to as 'collateral circulation'. The body begins to make small pathways for blood to circulate and feed the heart muscle, albeit not as efficiently as the main vessel would have done. In time, the heart can be surrounded with all kinds of 'collateral' vessels, but none will do the job quite as well as the original pathway for circulation of that blood.
In much the same way, whenever we begin to see the pathway God desires for us to follow as 'too hard' or 'too narrow', we might begin to form some 'collateral' pathways. We still are his kids, but we aren't as well connected to the direct flow of his life-blood within us. We find we rely upon those things that we have created as 'collateral' pathways instead of that direct connection with him. What would be a 'collateral pathway' in our lives? It might be the reliance upon a relationship with another that we 'go to' because they won't ask the tough questions when we need to be challenged. It could be we bury ourselves in work to avoid the pain of allowing God access to things he has been seeking access to in our lives. There are lots of ways we form 'collateral' pathways - putting our faith in 'circumstantial evidence' rather than allowing for the 'direct evidence' of his grace, love, and hope to fully be worked into our lives. Just sayin!