Monday, December 6, 2010

Gotta Have Faith

On Friday, the Gospel reading told of two blind men who cried out to Jesus to heal them. When He approached them He asked, "Do you believe that I can do this?" I think as Christians, we confront this question every day. And rather than being the easy, throw-away question that it seems, I believe it can challenge the very core of our Faith...at least is does mine.

The easy answer to whether God can do something is simple intellectual assent. Of course God can do this...or that. God can do anything. He is Omnipotent...He is without equal. There is nothing God can't do. But while this is all true, it is an answer in the abstract. It is something we believe because we are suppose to believe it. It is just logical. If Go dis God, He can do anything. But it is one thing to say that you believe in a chair...and a wholly other thing to actually sit down. The challenge comes when we are believing for...is in our own life.

When I first read this passage, I immediately started running through all the really challenging areas in my life. I recalled the places where I struggle the most...the areas that get most of my prayer time...the situations where I am the most frustrated and/or have the least hope of it getting better. And then I asked myself this question. Do I think God can do this? Do I believe God can fix this? Do I believe He can make this better? And as my mind darted to the easy answer, I forced myself to go beyond the literal words of the question...and get to what I think is the heart of it. Do I believe God will do this...do I believe He will fix this...do I believe He will make this better? When I ask that question, I am forced to admit, my faith is not as strong as that of the blind men in Jesus' story.

You see if I believe God will fix my most difficult situation...if I believe God really will relieve this burden...if I believe He will make things better...then why do I despair? Why do I worry? Why do I feel hopeless even thinking about it? Despair, worry, fear, hopelessness...these are not markers of Faith. So I'm left with the admission that I don't really believe God is going to act in some of the situation sin my life. I don't really believe He is going to make things better. And that scares me...in fact it shakes me to the core.

Why don't I think God cares enough to act? Why don't I believe that He is faithful...and will answer my many prayers? Why don't I think God wants good things for my life? It's such an odd question to contend with...because the Bible is full of evidence to the contrary.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Clearly God loves us and clearly God loves me. Sometimes I think my doubt stems from feeling unworthy. Who am I that God should love me? I mean it doesn't take too much to rationalize that there are more important issues and situations in the world. Or as Brooks & Dunn put it, that God must be busy. At other times I think my doubt is really just my impatience....my selfishness. Because God hasn't fixed the situation yet, I presume He is not going to. Since He hasn't moved according to my timeline, I figure He isn't going to move at all. He must not care. And at still other times, my doubt really stems from my own realization...somewhere deep down...that the resolution to the situation already lies within me. I already have the power to change it...to fix it...to make this situation better...but I don't. So my unbelief in God's actions are really my not believing in myself...in my own willingness to do what needs to be done.

But whatever it is that impedes my complete trust in what Jesus can and will do, the end of the story gives me every reason why I need to fight through it.
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
You see, God chooses to move according to our faith....and so I can limit God (because He allows me to). I can not live up to my potential...I can get mired down in hopelessness...I can live in constant frustration and doubt. I can do all these things...if I choose. But that is not God's desire. He desires to heal and transform and deliver. God desires to be in every situation in my life. And He'll act in every situation...if I just trust Him. If I believe not only that He can...but that He will act...then miracles will happen. I just gotta have Faith.

1 comment:

PRForgette said...

Faith is a hard concept for us to grasp when we are facing illness, loss of a job or other situations. But if we really accept God’s Grace it becomes the fuel that propels our spiritual journey. It is so simple yet so hard. Your writing today reinforces this and helps us to realize that all we have to do is make the right choice.