Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Backwards Faith


“No sweetie, you’ve got that backwards. You need to believe first, then receive. Instead you want to receive the answer to your prayer…and then you will believe that I AM and that I care for you and answer your prayers. It doesn’t work like that Susan. That takes no faith all…and requires no effort.”

“Yes Lord…You are right”, I responded as I pulled in to my driveway coming home Bible study.

I’m not sure if God used tonight’s lesson in Matthew 14 to continue to challenge my lack of faith? Or maybe it was the ongoing study in Luke I’ve been listening to in my drive time? Perhaps it was my response to a friend that weighed heavy on my mind when I was asked, “Why don’t you give your loneliness over to God?”

I think I’m kind of like Peter…my favorite apostle. Who when Jesus bid him to step out of the boat and walk on the water…he ventured out in faith. Peter took a few steps and was doing fine as long as his eyes were on the Lord. But when he looked around, beheld the stormy sea surrounding him and felt the boisterous wind…that’s what grabbed his attention. It was no longer his Lord standing before him and telling him to “Come”. Instead he realized that he was but a man and unable to walk on water…and then he began to sink. Peter started out enthusiastically. Hey…the other disciples just sat in the boat. They didn’t ask if they could walk on water…instead they chose the safety and comfort of the boat. Peter actually stepped out of the boat. But his enthusiastic, impulsive faith soon turned to sinking faith.

Likewise when I get my eyes off the Lord, who He is and what He can do…then my faith sinks to the bottom of the stormy sea like a dead weight….taking me right along with it.

But if I could have the faith…that emboldens me to step out and believe that I could walk on water when my Lord bids me to come. Oh to have a growing faith that takes one who denies his Lord when confronted by a little girl…to one who willingly died rather than renounce his faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. To have such faith that believes the words, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.

Oh God…there is hope for me yet. I don’t have to tell You that I struggle to believe. But I’m tired of the enemy snatching away the seeds and fruit of my faith. God…I know that You are able to accomplish what concerns me today. That You are able to do abundantly more than I ask or imagine. I know that You are faithful when I am faithless. Jesus…I need You to give me faith…the faith to believe You and trust You. To trust You even when all I can see is the storm. When just around the corner there is a rainbow and the sun is peaking through the clouds…but I can’t see that yet from my perspective. You alone know the depths of my despair…and my hurting heart. You know my prayers uttered in the solitude and darkness. I know that You can answer my prayer. When I look back on my life…I can see clearly Your hand acting on my behalf. But Jesus…I can’t take this one across the goal line without You. So not only am I asking You to answer my long awaited prayer…but I’m asking You to give me the faith to believe. To walk with me in the dark times and rebuke the lies of the enemy with truth from Your Word. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That’s me Lord. Your word tells me to keep asking, keep seeking and keeping knocking and then I will receive. Jesus…You hear that annoying knocking…that’s me. I can’t wait until You answer. Jesus…I’m asking You to exchange my sinking faith…for faith that walks on water.

At times…it seems like I see God or a message from God in just about everything. The other day when driving to work…I saw the most magical rainbow. At first all I could see was the top of the arch. But as I drove closer…I could see the end of the rainbow. It was so close…I felt like I could drive right to it. Instead I reached for my camera phone to try and capture a photo so I would not forget. Then the light changed to green…and I had to go. As I drove into the rain and clouds the rainbow and sun disappeared. I felt as if God was saying to me, “Susan…you need to remember this. The rainbow and sun are just back there. It’s still there…you just can’t see it.” Did I believe that? Absolutely. I’ve just got to do the same when it comes to faith and trusting God for what I can’t yet see.

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