Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Faith: and Now What

Faith is a wonderful thing, the ability to trust in a sovereign God and know His care for me is being perfectly worked out is truly one of the greatest of gifts that could be given. However I am finding that faith has it's limits. What is the next step, I sense that all things must move. There must be an increase in faith, in the knowledge of God, in understranding the ways of the Lord, in depth of love and devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and in the deepness of surender and death of self.
Mountain-moving prayer and the belief that comes with that profundity is a hallmark of a life of faith which transcends the frailty of this life and enables the holder to stretch, grow beyond the borders of human understanding and to lay claim to the mysteries of God's healing and miracle-making powers. This faith is spoken of as being like a grain of mustard seed (possibly referring to a thriving increasing faith) which when excercised is capable of trusting to the inclusion of any event or happenning within the will of God to perform. This is miracle faith.
The crux of the issue is summed up in the question This is the big question for myself in determining the whys? and wherefores? of mountain-moving faith that fails to have success. Does something in our hearts say that God will do this, or is there no expectation in us? It seems more often than not prayers are not answered in miraculous ways. This questions the amount or quality of the faith that I possess and further entrenches the fear of failure and the promotion of doubt as to the validity of my faith.
In looking at scripture, specifically Matthew 17:20, Mark 9:23, & 11:23 we would assume that in the healing ministry of Jesus faith was a dominant human factor. It would seem that the faith of the sick or someone elses faith would be a requirement for healing. (see Matthew 8:13, 9:2,22, 29, & 15:28) Having stated that there is also no indication that Jesus ability to heal or that his ability to heal is delayed by personal faith. (see Matthew 13:58 : 17:20 & Mark 6:5-6) I hope you are not surprised that this has created some confusion in the church about the importance of faith in prayer and in healing.
So how do I resolve and deal with the strong element of doubt that pervades my belief (not that God cannot) that God in His sovereignty will not at this time grant my request, even though I have the faith to believe in His ablility to do so. As a writer has stated, rather than say Jesus heals where there is faith and that this is a requirement of healing, I should say that Jesus' healing ministry is an opportunity for the sufferer's to express their desire to be healed. This in part removes the requirement of human faith and the aspect that faith can manipulate healing power. One's faith is to be based on God's fathfulness, goodness, power and mercy. Seems rather placebic when it comes to the actual dealing with the pain and the loss as a result of unanswered prayer. It still leaves me with the question is there not something more I could have done?
To move further in this discussion we find in James 5:14-15 a further indication of faith in healing which for me brings the impetus of mountain-moving faith back onto my shoulders. There is no indication that the sick must have faith only that the elders in believing will see people restored to health. This brings about great risk. The fear of failure, the implications to the life of faith in the person of the elder, and the subsequent questioning of the personal call to that position by the elder. I am not the type of person who is willing to take the easy way out in terms of understanding these issues or in writing off failure as the will of God without accountability for the failure to see healing. It brings my thoughts to Moses who fully understanding that to stand in the gap before God meant his death did so anyway. With full knowledge of the consequences of his actions he choose to place himself in harm's way for the salvatioon of his people. How much greater should my willingness to stand be in order to accomplish in the name of the Lord the healing of the people whom I shepherd. Ken Blue in Authority to Heal points out that those who pray successsfully for healing in whatever tradition have three characteristics in common: (1) the conviction that God is willing to heal (faith); (2) compassion for the sick person (also a characteristic of Jesus); and (3) the wilingness to risk ( faith must be put into action; the prayer of faith must be prayed). the fact remains that those who do not believe that God wants to heal the sick person normally do not see those who they pray for healed, as well, those with even a mustard-seed-belief in their hearts often do.
I cannot understate the risk that is involved, the eyes of public opinion loom largest when they can cast down the efforts of leaders to move people in to greater grace and love and devotion and fear of the Lord and faith and strength and......
In the Psalms it is said by David "for your Name's sake" and in the likelihood of sounding
apologetic all things must be relevant to the advancement of the Glory of God in the lives of His people. May we all have understanding of that advancement even in the face of seeming failure and the possible pain of that failure.

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