If I wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking him for my cottage by the sea in Maine and sent it off every year for the next twenty years, you’d begin to think I’m crazy. Or at least, pretty eccentric. Because I don’t believe in that legenday figure. What would be the point of a letter?
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
Do you believe God exists?
Do you believe He is who He says He is?
Do you believe that He will do what He says He will do?
Those aren’t rhetorical questions; let’s avoid the trap of rhetorical answers and ask ourselves, honestly —
Do we really believe?
I grew up in the church. In all of my memory, I was taught to say that Jesus is alive. I remember the day, though, when the realization hit me—I follow a man who died 2000 years ago and now claims to be alive. Really? Yes, I decided, I really do believe that. Coming to that conclusion changed my faith.
We all need to decide: Do we believe God exists and that His words are truth?
If so, everything changes, and we have incredible promises concerning our prayers to our God.
From Jesus, God in human skin:
* Keep asking and knocking, and the door will open and you’ll receive. (Matthew 7:7-8)
* If two or more of you agree on anything and ask for it, the Father will do it for you. (Matthew 18:19)
* You can pray for anything, and you’ll receive it. You can do more amazing miracles than Jesus did. You can move mountains into the sea, if you believe you can! (Matthew 21:21-22)
What do we do with those promises from Jesus? Do we try to explain the radical statements by watering them down, saying, “Well, Jesus didn’t mean that literally …” or, “Of course He doesn’t expect us to …”
I’m not at a place where I believe my faith can move mountains. My faith must be a smaller speck than a mustard seed. Yet I believe His words are truth.
For children of the Almighty, I believe the possibilities are endless.
I believe that if we knew, if we knew what the power of Christ could do in our lives, none of us would be going along in the same old routines and the same old habits of thinking.
I believe all of this is truth— I am just not yet hurling mountains here and there.
I can only pray, Spirit, help my unbelief.
And I believe in that prayer. It’s become as important to me as “Be merciful to me, a sinner” and “Lord, my times are in your hands.” And so I continue knocking, asking, seeking.
Jesus told a story about a widow who kept petitioning a judge because she wanted him to hear her case. Finally, he gave her what she wanted. This isn’t to say that God ignores us or is reluctant to answer. The point of the story, Luke tells us, was to show that we should “always pray and never give up.” (Luke 18:1).
I don’t intend to give up asking for more than a mustard seed. I believe we grow into our faith and wherever we are now on the pilgrimage, when we put ourselves in the hands of a living God, He hears our prayers. I may not “yet” be hurling mountains, but who knows what lies ahead?
I believe, Father. Help me where I still have unbelief.
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)