Thursday, November 30, 2017

Frustrating Jesus

And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything…help us. Jesus said to him, ‘If you can? Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’” Mark 9:22-24.

Like many of you, I certainly understand the heartbreaking dilemma of being fearful for the life of a child. This poor father had watched horrific evil overtake his child, and bore the responsibility and burden of rescuing his son multiple times. No doubt he had tried everything and was terrified to take his eyes off his boy. I know for myself during a tough season with one of my children, every instance the phone rang I felt a sense of dread in my heart. Upon returning home, a flashing red light on my phone felt like a winking call from death itself. I had tried everything, and yet I felt I hadn’t tried enough. My faith was more about my strength, my ideas, and my intervention instead of God’s saving power. I believed God for my eternal salvation, but I lacked belief in His saving abilities. I am confident I exhausted Jesus…I was ‘an unbelieving generation.’ (Mark 9:19). I believed that He could, but I must have doubted that He would. I think my last statement is the echo of this dad’s proclamation, ‘I do believe, but help my unbelief!’

When we approach our challenging and scary circumstances with a ‘me-faith’ instead of a ‘He-faith’ we infuse weakness and futility into our situation. We call upon our own power instead of His, and call foul ball when our prayers go unanswered. ‘Spiritual power comes only when a person turns from self to God in faith…Jesus meant that anything is possible if we believe because nothing is too difficult for God, even when our experience seems to indicate otherwise.’ Life Application New Testament Commentary, p.186. If we don’t call on God’s power our words are simply empty mutterings. But when we are in tune with God’s power resurrections are realized…marriages are healed…prodigals return home…jobs are found…new beginnings bring hope. We cannot live our lives as an unbelieving generation questioning His power, His authority or His goodness. We only need to remember past times when He saved…when He intervened…when He walk in the confidence that He will save again. When we pray let us pray in His name instead of our own.

Our Father, you are in heaven and you are holy. We ask for you to bring your kingdom and your will into our circumstances on earth. We ask that you give us your daily strength instead of trying to find ours. We humbly thank you for forgiving us and help us forgive the people who hurt us. Put a protective barrier between us and the evil that surrounds us. We recognize in all tough and heartbreaking circumstances that you have the power to change them, and the glory in which to reveal your awesome works both now and forever. Amen.’ (Based on the Lord’s Prayer)

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