What does true faith look like? This is a question I have been asking myself lately. Often times I find myself wrestling with feelings of worry or even pessimism and I think to myself, "Is this the hope that Christ calls me too?" See, I want to live a hope-filled, expectant life that trusts in the Lord AT ALL TIMES. So, why is it so difficult some days to not cave to the thoughts that tell me to do the opposite? I confess, some days, praying is more difficult than others. I find that the list of needs and requests is all too consuming leaving me speechless were it not for the Holy Spirit. How God delights in our prayers and can hear all of them, even the unspoken ones, the groans and sighs as well, is clearly so beyond my human comprehension. Yet, I know that He does and He never misses a word or even thought. He may not always answer immediately, but it's not because He didn't get the message, but because He understands perfect timing. Something I still can struggle with when impatience rears it's ugly little head. But what would it look like if I truly learned to rest in the fact that God not only hears all the requests, but that He is able to do the seemingly impossible just by saying the word? What if I truly grasped His authority? Would that not increase my faith all the more and create a sense of rest in my sometimes hurried soul?
I've been going back and reading the gospels. I was inspired to do so after watching season 1 of The Chosen-- the tv show about the life of Jesus and His disciples. Let me just say, this show reawakened my heart to the wonder of what it must have been like to walk alongside Jesus during His physical ministry on earth-- hear Him speak, watch Him heal, and to experience fellowship with Him. Do we have the ability to still do that now through the Holy Spirit? Yes. But, to remember that these people were real and they lived real lives like we do brings the Bible to life again. So, back into the gospels I have gone, trying to imagine what life must have been like for them. It has been convicting, exciting, refreshing, and also eye opening. There has been much that I have forgotten, some that I had missed, plenty that I had merely skimmed over, and little that I had retained. Wow, yeah, it's been a fun way to spend my mornings.
One such story or portion of scripture that has been hitting me pretty hard is the story of the Centurion. One recount of this is found in Matthew chapter 8, verses 5-13. The other is in Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew's version the Centurion goes to Jesus himself asking Him to heal his servant. But in Luke's, the centurion sends others with the message to Jesus while he stays back with his servant that is dying. Here's what struck my heart: The centurion had only heard of Jesus and the miracles He was performing. It didn't take much convincing for him, however, to believe that if Jesus would respond, that the servant would be healed. Why? Because the Centurion believed in and understood the authority that Jesus had.
6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
"But say the word"... that's faith. Those four words sprung off the page like a dart to my heart. That was true faith. That was belief. That was understanding the person of Jesus and the authority given to Him by the Father. Now, the question I posed to myself that morning was, "Lord, do I believe in your authority like this?" Oh, how I desire to. I want to take the nagging thoughts that tell me to worry about things and tell them to hush. For I know that if God were to simply say the word, everything could change in an instant. I want to be a woman who constantly reminds herself that if God created all the earth and everything in/on it in 6 days by the very word of His mouth, speaking life into all that we see, His very words causing the seas to form and have their boundaries and all living creatures to come into being, then surely, one word from His lips can bring new life and reshape the very nature of that which is around me.
My prayers have shifted. "Lord, just say the word, and it will be." And, I'm choosing to stand in hope and faith understanding that all things both in heaven and on earth are subject to His authority and His power. (Matthew 28:18) I may not see it right away. God is not some magic genie in heaven "poofing" things into being at the mere ask. He is patient, all-knowing, and with perfect timing. He also knows way more than we can even fathom and sees all that we cannot. It's not for me to try and fully wrap my head around, it's for me to trust and believe. He's already proven time and time again both in my personal life and in countless others that He's too good not to believe. So, I pose this question, will you be a person that takes Him at His word? Will you trust not only what He has shared through His infallible scriptures but also through the Holy Spirit? Will you allow Him to be the authority in your life?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, would you speak to the areas of my heart that still wrestle with doubt, worry, fear, unbelief, and unrepentance? Would you help me to know your heart and your character and to understand and respect your authority so that the response of my heart is trust and reverence? Help me to pray bold and yet humble prayers, not words of distrust and complaint. May my words be those of trust, worship, praise, and full of faith. Help me to learn how to believe in your word and to trust that no word you ever say will ever come back void. May I be a person who can say, if you say the word, it will be. And, help me to stand in faith and hopeful expectation for your word to be accomplished. In Jesus Name, Amen.