Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Faith in a Faithful God

As I read through the Gospels recently I was struck by peoples' response to Jesus.  Many struggled with faith, waffling or demonstrating outright denial of Jesus; but there were some who came boldly to Him, believing Him to be who He said He was.  Matthew records several such folks.  There was the leper who said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean" (8:2); the Centurion with the servant who was ill (8:10); the ruler who said, "My daughter has just died.  But come...and she will live" (9:18) and several others.
And I realize that this is exactly what Jesus expected.  He was God-in-flesh and He wanted us to know that.  Those who believed and trusted Him were transformed.  

No wonder the faithlessness of people stunned Jesus.  Asleep in the boat in the middle of a storm, Jesus' disciples woke Him, terrified for their lives. "You of little faith," He replied, "why are you so afraid?" (Matt 8:26).  He got up and stilled the storm.  That's what He came to do.

Once when He had returned to his home town many who heard Him were amazed, and others doubted.  Mark records that "He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And He was amazed at their lack of faith" (6:5,6).  There is so much He would have done, so much more He wants to do in our world.  Does our lack of faith frustrate His work?

Why do we struggle so much with faith?  Why do we wonder if the Lord knows our needs or will be faithful this time to meet them?

Faith is not us conjuring up enough hope, or thinking enough good thoughts so that everything will work out.  Faith is not working things out ourselves.  It is being assured that, whether or not we can see it, the God of the universe is in charge and can be trusted.  Faith is about God, not about us.  And He is faithful.  Do you believe it?

When Jesus challenged the faith of a father who brought his son to Him, the father cried out, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).  What a great prayer.  If you struggle with faith, you can make this prayer your own.  It's one God loves to answer.

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