“And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matt. 13:58) This Bible verse is written in the context of Jesus visiting His hometown Nazareth. It got me thinking – how many times does God NOT do a miracle in my life because of MY lack of faith? How often do I not even pray about things because they just seem so outrageous and impossible? I find myself living in this self-constructed nice little box, tidy and predictable, expecting God to act within it, according to my laid-out plan as if He is my genie. I forget that He is so much bigger, that He is not bound to the same limitations as I am. He can do whatever He wants, in whichever way He wants – I just have to be ready to let go of my expectations and believe that He can do the impossible.
God is a God of miracles. He never changes, so if He did miracles in Bible times, He does miracles now. The only limiting factor I can find in all of the Bible is a person’s lack of faith. Is this why we don’t see Him act often in our Western world? Are we limiting God’s work in our lives? He often tends to be an afterthought, doesn’t He? For example, when I’m sick, I go to the doctor. When my car is acting up, I take it in to be fixed. When I’m hungry, I go to the store or drive-through. When I’m lonely, I reach for friends, food, TV, or whatever gives me the quick-fix. Maybe we have lost our desperate dependence on Him, and so we have un-learned how to trust Him and expect from Him in faith to meet our needs.
Friends of ours grew up and lived in Toronto, successful in business, well-to-do with all the luxury and comforts a person could want. Then God called them to become missionaries in Zambia, in one of the poorest, dirtiest, AIDS-impacted slums. Talk about night-and-day difference! But you know what? They now see miracles happen, they literally feel God working in their community, and they love the sweet fellowship they have with their Father as they bring their every need to Him. I must say, I envy them in that respect.
In Luke 18, Jesus tells the story of a widow who goes to an unjust judge for help. Due to her persistence, the judge, though initially unwilling, does eventually help and avenge her. Then Jesus goes on to say that God is not a God who needs to be begged to help His children “who cry out to Him day and night”. He will answer their prayers quickly! But then He asks a very haunting question:
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Will He? What will it take for us to have faith in God again? For one, we cannot expect God to jump through hoops for us and fulfill our every wish but not lift a finger when He asks us to do things for Him. We cannot continue to live in our comfortable, safe little bubbles, staying within our box and making sure that we don’t do anything crazy or risky for God. WE MUST STEP OUT! “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.” (Francis Chan)
Secondly, we have to stop living as if God doesn’t exist. We can say all we want that we have faith in God, but if our lives are marked by worry, self-indulgence, temporal priorities, or strife, clearly something is wrong. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and let’s be willing to let go of our own plan for our life, step out to join God in His kingdom work with reckless abandon, and then fully and desperately cling to Him in faith. May He find faith when He returns!