I don’t know about you, but my concept of faith has been challenged lately. In the past couple of months, I have known people dealing with heart-crushing situations - death, suicide, cancer, natural disasters - you name it! Just this weekend, I met a lady who lost her husband and three children in a boating accident. I know another who lost his wife in a car crash, and two others who committed suicide. I have a friend who was sold as a child by her own father to sex traffickers, and last week, a dear friend who had only been married a year lost her husband to cancer.
We all have our story of tragedy, and even as Christians, how can we overcome in the face of such pain? When the trials come, our faith can be challenged. Where was God? Why did He allow these things happen, and could things have been prevented if we had had more faith? Maybe you and I need to rethink our idea of what faith truly looks like…
When Jesus’ disciples couldn’t heal a boy who suffered from epileptic seizures, Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith saying in Matthew 17:20, “I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Still, in His own ministry, He did not always heal and deliver people from their suffering. At the pool of Bethesda there were many who were sick, yet only one was healed. Jesus said in John 5:19, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. Perhaps Jesus’ faith wasn’t so much about what He wanted as it was about knowing what the Father was doing and trusting His love in every situation.
When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said to first acknowledge the Father’s holiness and His place of sovereignty as we say, “Our Father who art in heaven, holy is Your name.” As we pray these words, we remember and declare that He alone is God, and we are not. The next part of the Lord’s Prayer brings faith into sharp focus as we pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Faith seeks to know the very heart of God. Faith sees beyond the pain of this world into the glory that can come through pain if we acknowledge what God can do through it.
How we want to deliver our loved ones from pain! Yet if we could have rescued Joseph when he suffered in Egypt, we would have aborted God’s plan of salvation for the Israelites that he would eventually save from starvation. If we could have rescued Jesus when he was beaten and hung on a cross for a crime He didn’t commit, we would have aborted God’s plan of salvation for the entire world.
In the church, we often see faith as the ability to pray and believe for miracles which it certainly is. But I have come to know that our faith fails when we try to believe for what we want instead of seeking what God wants. When we, like Jesus, have the humility to lay down our desires and ask. “Father, what does Your kingdom look like in this situation? What are You doing?” then we truly see the kingdom of heaven come on earth. That is when miracles happen! I have seen those miracles with my own eyes - both the miracle of healing on this earth and the miracle of healing in the next. The truth is - faith seeks the Lord’s glory and purpose rather than personal comfort. Faith trusts God’s unfailing love no matter what happens.
I had a chance to witness true faith this week through my friend who lost the man she had married just one year ago to cancer. Though her heart was completely crushed with grief, she wrote these powerful words:
“If a man who loved life and food and running and biking and doing just about everything could somehow find joy after not eating or drinking or doing pretty much anything for eleven months, I can do all things through the same God who strengthened him.”
That is faith…..not focusing on her loss and her pain, but focusing on the One who can get her through the pain! Until we get to heaven, life will hurt - there is no getting around that. But by faith, we can experience the presence of God in our pain, and He can even bring glorious fruit through our pain. Yes, we can see His kingdom come and His will be done. That is the miracle we seek! Wherever you are today, no matter what you are going through, I invite you to ask the Lord into your suffering. Ask him for His presence and His power and His kingdom in your situation. As you do that, I know the Lord will do miracles in you and through you!
Father, we come to you as hurting, wounded people. Every day there are new trials to test our faith. yet Your mercies are also new every morning! When we are tested and tried, help us to look to You and trust Your love completely. Help us to seek Your kingdom and Your will above our own. Give us faith for miracles where we need them! in Jesus’ name, amen.