Tuesday, March 16, 2010

These Three: Part 1: FAITH

A lesson that God continues to bring up to me is that of hope and faith in prayer. He's been teaching me so much about it, that I might make two or three posts about it instead of just this one. You know, I think I will. :-)


Men ought always to pray, and not to lose heart...

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, 'There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, "Avenge me of mine adversary."

" 'And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, "Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me."

" 'And the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them (give them justice) speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" ' "

A deep look into my heart shows that I often lack faith and lose heart. I ask a couple times, receive no clear answer, and give up. Or, I wish something were so but I don't even bring it to God at all-- as though my prayers will be answered when I do not pray at all! This is not faith.

What is faith? "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." In modern words, it is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." It takes faith to believe that God will work when we do not see how He could possibly do so. It takes faith to come to God at all with our heart's requests and pleas. Faith also requires that we throw out all doubts and insecurities and press ahead with complete conviction.

Think of the Israelites in the book of Numbers. In chapters 13 and 14, they spied out the land of Canaan; their hearts were filled with doubt and fear; and they chose to disbelieve God, which wound them up wandering around in the wilderness for forty years. After that long time of wandering, in chapter 21, the Israelites face the unconquerable land of Canaan and its peoples again. Read the chapter-- it is thrilling to see that as they obeyed God with some measure of faith,they cut down those fearful nations left and right as though those nations were the grasshoppers instead of the Israelites!

The woman in the passage above also showed a great deal of faith. Day after day, she came before that unjust judge, bringing her plea before him in the belief that he would answer her. After time, the unjust judge answered her request to get her off his back. God is just; He is Justice and so far above that unjust judge, and so much more righteous in His dealings. That said, can we not believe that He will answer our prayers if an unjust judge on earth can do so? This is the God that loves us, that promises to be with us and hear our prayers! Surely we can take Him at His Word!

Doubt will never get a person anywhere. Doubt hinders God's work in our lives-- not that He isn't powerful, but we can't see Him at work when our eyes are clouded by our own disbelief. God does not want us to dwell on the "bigness" of the "giants" before us, nor on our great (and real) weakness and inability. However, He wants us to come to Him in prayer and believe that He will act according to His promise and His character. He wants us to take Him at His Word, believe Him fully, and go forth in the knowledge that He is God Almighty. In my daily life as I wish for God to work and do great things, I must do more than just wish. I must pray, and believe, and pray again. The Just Judge will hear, and He will act. Nothing will be impossible. Justice will prevail, giants will fall, and nations will crumble before the Lord of hosts.

Remember the song from The Prince of Egypt: "There can be miracles when you believe"? It was true for the people in the Bible! There can be miracles, and it can be true for you and me as well.


Gabrielle Renee said...

Wonderful post and thoughts, Melanie!! :)

I received your letter today! :)


Teddy said...

I just now had time to read this-thank you so much. It's got my mind cranking...

Rosebud said...

Wow, thanks, Melanie - I needed that, and it went right along with a lot of my own thoughts and lessons right now.