I am going to be one of the two who believe
Here is a question that was put to me about a year ago and has since then opened up my heart and mind to believe and hope for so much more:
– Can God not choose to bless whomever he wants?
This isn’t a rhetorical question, you must actually answer it. And then answer this one:
– Can God not place his love on whomever he chooses?
Your answers to both were hopefully a loud and liberating “YES!” Our ideas of eligibility are not God’s, and he can bless and love whomever he chooses – even me, and even you. We may think – or even feel we know – that we are too ‘unspecial’ for special treatment. But who are we to tell God his business?
Understanding this has had life-altering implications: I realise that God can choose to place his love on me and bless me in ways that don’t add up when I think of who I am or what I deserve. The same is true for you.
Working from this, if God has told you to trust him for something – something bigger and better than seems to make sense – just trust him. BELIEVE what he has said, knowing that he has the power and authority to do it, and that he only promises things he intends to deliver.
The difficulty often comes when we are told to believe for something for which we don’t have a precedent to believe. The experiences of those around us and those down the ages very often increase our faith, but sometimes they can also limit us. If we look around and cannot find anyone who has ‘successfully’ believed for the same thing or in the same sort of situation as us, we can lose hope.
If you’re like me, you might think: well heck, there are so many greater men and women who have gone before me and who surround me now, and I don’t see any of them having lived or walked out this thing, so how could I possibly be expected to manage it? But if I allow this thinking to take hold, then I am limiting God in accordance with the experiences of myself and others, and I join the ranks of the “victims of tradition” (JL Packer).
If something – anything – I see, hear, learn or experience makes God seem smaller, then I am being deceived. God is ALWAYS bigger than what we think or imagine. (Thank you Beth Moore for this revelation!)
It is good that we listen to the counsel of others, but not if it means their limited faith diminishes ours. Very often God will reveal something only to you (especially if it’s about your own life), and it’s highly likely that nobody else will have the faith for it, since faith comes from hearing the rhema of God (i.e. the spoken word of God) and they didn’t hear Him on this issue – you did. Believe, in spite of what others think. Believe, in spite of the fact you don’t have a precedent for it.
Elijah, who was living through a drought, prayed SEVEN times for rain. While he prayed, it remained dry, and the sky was bright and cloudless. Was there ever a man in quite this situation before? But God told him to pray for rain, and so he kept on praying for it, believing in the face of all the evidence. After flogging a seemingly dead horse of a prayer, the rains finally came. But Elijah had to hold out for a long time on his own, just believing.
In the book of Joshua we read that Israel was camped on the banks of the Jordan River, looking across at Canaan, the land God had promised them would be theirs. Spies were sent to scout out the land before the nation crossed over into it. The spies saw how fabulous the land was, but they also saw that there were giants everywhere. So almost all of them stopped believing the Israelites would get the land. Because seriously, how do you take claim of a land that has big, ugly giants living in it?
Answer: You don’t – you get squashed. Yet two spies – Joshua and Caleb – saw the giants just the same as everyone else but stubbornly believed God could and indeed would give them what he had said he would.
“The Lord himself will fight for you, you need only be still” (Exodus 14:14). Joshua and Caleb were the only ones to actually get to live in the Promised Land, because they were the only ones who were “still”, believing God would dispatch the giants for them. In other words, one needs only to trust God and the land will be won.
Like many of you, I have some badass giants squatting on my promised land. Every time I look at them, I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. They are giants, after all. But then when I stop looking at them and instead look just at God, I find faith rising, I find clarity. I decide that nothing or nobody is going to tell me what I can or cannot believe save for the Word of God. I may be small and weak and useless much of the time, but I can choose to believe even when nobody else does. There’s nothing stopping me from being one of the two who ignores the giants and instead just looks at God. I like that.