Monday, March 31, 2008

You Gotta Believe!

Many times when things are not going well - either in my world, or in the world around me - I begin to pray. It's all I really know to do.

I ask God for something - anything - that can help. I ask for mercy. I ask for healing. I ask for grace or love or justice. I ask.

And, then I hope. I hope that I am somehow going to convince God to do what I have asked. I have read scripture enough to know that He hears my prayer. I know when He hears, He acts. But, like most humans, many times I have difficulty discerning the answer, or seeing how God responds.

But, here's the deal. I've got it wrong. Not all wrong, but some of it wrong.
Yes, God loves it when I come to Him with my troubles, sorrows, fears, weaknesses. He listens closely when I lift up prayers on others' behalf. Few things please Him more than when His children come to Him.

But, when I speak with God, and give Him my junk and plead with Him to make things right in universe, He only asks one thing in return. To believe.

Throughout scripture, miracles are performed, prayers are answered, and the unfathomable becomes reality.

How? Not because the right words were spoken. Not because the proper sacrifice was offered. Not because someone paid the appropriate amount of money. It's because of faith.

Read Hebrews 11:6 - And
without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

Over and over again in the Bible, we see God rewarding FAITH. Peter walking on water. The paralytic carried on a mat, who is healed because of his friends' faith. The sick woman who just touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed. Noah building an ark, when it had never rained. Abraham and Sara - ages 100 and 90 - trusting that God would give them a child.

The examples are endless - and they all have one thing in common: faith.

One time, a group of men came to tell the synagogue leader that her daughter was dead. He had just asked Jesus to come to his home to heal his sick 12-year old girl. But, she apparently passed away before they could make it back. The men said, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher anymore?"

But Jesus turned to the synagogue ruler and said, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

And, likely those are the words he is saying to you and me right now.

You gotta believe.

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