Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Will Jesus Find Faith on the Earth?
Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)
Many people have a hard time with this parable. They see Jesus comparing rather than contrasting between the unrighteous judge and God. They see this parable as evidence that their insistence before God will force God to do as they wish. They see God as giving in because He simply doesn't want to be bothered anymore.
This is not the case. This parable deals much deeper than the superficial understandings many people will give it. It deals with who we think God is. Is He a God who answers us according to what is right? Is He a God who gives this justice swiftly? And will we continue to believe as is evidenced by continuing in prayer?
Each week I challenge people to pray. Many of them do. They have prayer lives which believe in God's power, goodness, love and wisdom. But I have found some people who pray without faith. They go through the mechanics of prayer without believing that God will do anything. They ask as if asking is all that is expected. They do not realize that they should expect to receive nothing as long as they are asking without faith.
Thus, these people do not sustain praying for anything. They pray for someone to be healed but do not pray for that person again. They ask for someone to get a job but never bring it up before God again. I doubt that they will admit or even realize that they don't believe anything is going to happen anyway. And that lack of belief assures their results.
Sometimes God delays responding to our prayers. He may have many reasons for doing so, yet we should still keep praying because it both enhances and proves what we believe. Faith is the evidence of that which is hoped for; an assurance of things not yet seen. It is a gift of God. It is proven when we act for our actions reveal our faith.
Many people want to do away with faith. Their actions reveal their fears. They hold onto all that they have because they are afraid. They only believe what they can see because their fears prevent them from believing. They are afraid to act in faith.
These people see what they can do without and give accordingly. I have seen many adults drop $2 in the offering plate because they won't miss it. Yet they will run to the church when they have been diagnosed with cancer. Then, they want to believe that God will act when they couldn't believe that He would act in providing enough for them to live on. Faith, to them, is a last resort.
However, this is not the case of a person with faith. Faithful people know God so well that they know how He will answer. They know that His will is that the best is done for them. They know that He will move the universe to answer their prayers. They know that a negative answer from Him is what is best, loving and done with full wisdom and knowledge. They trust Him when they bring their requests and continue to bring those requests until they receive an answer.
Will Jesus find faith when He returns to the earth? Personally, I know that I have been so discouraged that I didn't believe God would ever act. I hope that this is not how I will ever be characterized. I want to be a person of faith.
So, I pray and believe and pray some more.