Trusting in Our Words Instead of Trusting in God: The Paradox of Faith In the Miraculous
As I sat on the bench preparing for a day of service, I heard a woman wailing outside. Our medical team was preparing for a full day of work in the jungle. We hadn’t even opened the doors yet to see patients because we had just arrived. After a few minutes I saw my dear friend, the former strongest man in Peru, carrying a woman writhing in pain. She couldn’t walk, she could barely talk, and my immediate reaction was to stare.
Through translators we tried to figure out what was wrong. Noticing she was wearing a nurse’s outfit and knowing she could have gone to her hospital for aid, we quickly realized that of all the places, her friend, a Christian, brought her to us. The nurse, through sobs and short gasps, explained that she had a severe case of arthritis, and she could barely move.
I looked at her hands.
Her knees could barely bend. She was desperate, and in great pain.
As I looked at her young face, I did not understand what happened. What could we do for a pain like this? Honestly, I did not have any hope that we could do anything. Yet, she was brought to us, because her friend knew God could do the impossible. So as we tried to treat her, a prayer circle began to form around her. I personally did not know what else to do besides pray. I was not qualified for anything else.
So we began praying, and as leaders, we began to lay hands on her. As I kneeled before her, I realized that this moment was so much bigger than I could comprehend. God was going to do something, and we could tangibly see it, and feel it. As our Peruvian friend began asking her questions, this broken woman began to confess a lifetime of hurt, anger, sin, idolatry, abuse, and pain. At first it was slow, and uncomfortable. Then, as her heart began to open more and more, the confessions began to pour out.
We sat there and prayed. I watched.
I watched as God began to heal this woman from the inside out. Soul. Spirit. Mind. Body. All of it.
When we were finished praying, she slowly got up, and she took bold steps of faith. She was still in a bit of pain. So, the decision was made to give her some pain medication, as her body was going through the process of healing. She walked out with a smile on her face.
She was free.
Two days later we talked to her friend, and after the pain medications had worn off, she still felt free.
I remember processing that moment in my life a day after it happened. Then a month. Now almost a year. It shook me in ways I had never been shaken. In some respects I still can’t believe it happened.
One of the things I remember about that prayer time, is how poor my prayer life was. I realized I did not really think God could do anything He wanted. I had falsely believed He would only do what we told Him, in our faith filled prayers. I realized that my “asking” was really my “telling.” I had never really noticed this was what I thought, until I was confronted with the situation.
I do not know the hearts of those leaders around me that prayed, but I know God corrected mine. My prayer quickly became, “God give me faith in You.” “Please Lord, give me faith that is bigger than the box I put You in.” “Lord let Your will be done here.” “God we know You can heal, so we ask for Your will.”
Today it makes my stomach turn as I hear people treat God like Aladdin did with the Genie. Speak it, and He will do it. Believe, and you will receive. Have enough faith, and the walls of Satan will come tumbling down like Jericho.
What about those moments when I talked to a friend that I love, and they talked about asking God, in full faith, to perform a much-needed miracle, and heard nothing? They spoke it. What about people completely serving the Lord, discovering that they have a terminal sickness, and then they die? They had faith. Then there are the various faith filled prayers that occur around the world, asking for God to work a miracle in places where only a miracle can happen, and the answer appears to be, “no.”
This, my Brothers and Sisters is the paradox of faith.
I too believe the verses which say, “ask and you shall receive.” I know the authority God gives us through the Holy Spirit. I know Jesus was very clear about having faith the size of a mustard seed. I know Jesus was clear about casting a mountain into the sea.
Yet, look at the verses surrounding these promises. As I read them, I begin to understand the trap we can fall into and which Christ warns us against. Christ wants us to have faith, yet we should not have faith in faith, or faith in our words. We should have faith in the one true God. You can see this in Mark 11:22, when Jesus tells them first to have faith in God. Even when Christ does not say it this clearly, look at the specific words He uses. For example, check out this link on Matthew 17:20. Click on the words “faith” in the text, and see what I mean concerning Jesus talking about faith and the mustard seed. Notice the difference in the Greek words used to translate Christ’s words reflecting faith in God, and who He says He is, not faith in our words.
We as Christians must focus on having faith in God. Loving God. Loving our neighbors. In those moments, no matter what the will of God is, we can find peace within the paradox. It is with this faith in God that we can have peace while the unseen miracle is taking place.
*What do you guys think? What is your view on this paradox? Does God really call us to this sort of power? Since sometimes songs can be used to speak to us in deep and profound ways I would encourage you to watch this video by Lisa Gungor. It is what has inspired my thoughts, and re-affirmed my heart as God has been working on me.
What does the song say to you?
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