the struggle is real, so is God

March Madness – developing true faith in God’s power

It’s March Madness – one of my favorite times of the year. After last weekend, Alayna saw more basketball than she could handle, but I loved it. I love the anticipation, the Cinderella teams, the buzzer beaters, the stories discovered, pretty much everything about this time of year. Camden is our basketball boy, and it might be because six years ago during his first days of life, I sat in the hospital with him watching the NCAA tournament. However, he has a little bit to learn about the bracket – he picked Texas to win it all. My bracket’s been filled out and busted, too. Each year, it’s a major deliberation whether or not to pick my Jayhawks all the way to the championship. (Yes, they are my Jayhawks; I am slightly possesive.) My heart always advances them, but, sometimes, my head thinks, “Now wait a minute.” I want my team to win, I think they have a chance, but somewhere deep down, there’s a little doubt and apprehension. I think it could happen, but I don’t have complete faith that it will. As I’ve been reading the book of Matthew, God showed me that sometimes my faith in his ability to accomplish great things in my life works the same way.

In Matthew, chapters 8-9 focus on the miracles Jesus performed. While the healing and casting out of demons is remarkable, what really has left an impression on me is the extraordinary faith of these people. Jesus often explains to the recipients that it is because of their faith they receive the miracle. In Matthew 9:29, Jesus tells two blind men looking for healing, “According to your faith, let it be done to you…” Jesus healed the men because they had faith He could. He didn’t say, “Since I’m God’s son and I can, let me heal you,” or “I want to prove to your doubtful heart that I’m capable of this miracle.” No, Jesus said, “According to your faith, let it be done to you.”

According to their faith, the blind men were healed. I guess that means had they not truly believed Jesus could and would heal them, they would have continued their lives in the darkness, blind to the world around them. The book of Matthew is full of similar examples of true faith; faith that Jesus could do what no one else had ever been able to – heal, cure, cast out demons, even raise the dead. In chapter 8, we hear about the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant. Jesus offered to go to his home and heal the man, but the centurion said, “‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed’” (verse 8). Are you kidding me? This man had no doubts or reservations that Jesus could heal his servant, and, more amazing, he believed they didn’t even have to be in the same house for it to happen! Once again, according to his faith, it was done. “Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment” (Matthew 8:13, emphasis mine).

All these miracles got me thinking. Imagine Christ saying, “According to your faith, let it be done to you.” What is the “it” in your life? Physical healing? Emotional healing? Job opportunity? Provision for your family? Restoration? Forgiveness? Love? What would be done?

I can’t help but think about times when according to my lack of faith, what maybe hasn’t been done. How many times have I given up or lacked faith that God really could accomplish what I feel is impossible? Do you find yourself saying things like, “I can do all things through Christ” or “nothing is impossible with God,” but deep in your heart, you’re thinking all things except…? It happens to me. I know that God can do all things, but I don’t always believe wholeheartedly that He will. Sure, we can say we have faith that God can do this or that, and it may even encourage others. However, when it comes to our heart, God knows whether or not we truly believe that it can be done. The Lord sees into our hearts, so it’s not enough just to say, sure God, I have faith you will ______. He knows if we mean it. There’s no faking it in our hearts with an all-knowing God.

Sometimes, I use “if it’s God’s will” as a cop out. I say, “God can heal this person or provide this – if it is His will.” That’s my way of saying, God can do it, but I don’t really think He will. That way when it doesn’t happen, I can explain it by saying that must have been what I wanted but not what God planned. But, what if God doesn’t heal or provide because I don’t really believe He will.  

Jesus said, “according to your faith, let it be done to you,” not according to what you say you believe, let it be done to you. What kinds of blessings and miracles am I missing out on because my faith is weak? What kinds of blessings and miracles are you missing out on? The people Matthew tells about had true faith, confident faith that Jesus not only was capable of miracles, but faith that He would actually do them.

Jesus didn’t do miracles to get people to believe. He did them because they believed.

Prayer:

Lord, I praise you today and every day because you are the God of miracles and nothing is impossible for you. Please help me to recognize where my faith is weak and help me to boldly believe and declare that you not only can but will accomplish those things in my life. You tell us that according to our faith, it will be done. Lord, let your will be done in my life and send your Spirit to strengthen my faith so that I truly believe.

Amen

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