“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1,6 NIV)
Many people have hope in many things–people, things, animals, but for those of us who have hope in God, total confidence and assurance that He is and will do, our hope is not in vain. We know that without faith–the total assurance and confidence that He is and will do, we cannot possibly please Him. If we don’t please Him, why would we expect Him to do anything for us?
If a parent consistently tells a child they will do something for the child and never does it—sooner or later that child will stop believing the parent and nothing they say will matter. This is a loss of hope and confidence. But for the parent who consistently does what they say they will do–reward or punish–that child develops complete confidence in the parent–knowing they will either be rewarded or punished. If we can believe this analogy about our natural parents, why can’t we believe it about God?
I have come to the conclusion that many people distrust God because they believe He has failed them in some way or another. The evidence for this conclusion is clear–when God is blamed for all the things in the world that go wrong or people feel He has not answered their prayers, they can angry with God, doubt His existence and then try to convince others that God does not care.
The answer to prayers are sometimes not evident because people “pray amiss,” praying for things instead of direction and wisdom, praying for God to hurt others. When we pray, we must pray–according to The Word–believe we receive, and we shall have what we pray for. However, since God knows so much than we do, when prayers have been answered, some may not recognize it. For instance–prayers for healing can manifest in a number of ways. A person’s body can be totally healed if that is God’s plan for them (because He knows the future), or healing can come in the form of death–the person suffering no longer suffers.
Sometimes, people don’t recognize that if a person is destined to prolonged suffering, death really is the answer to prayer for those who understand how God works. When my mother was dying of cancer, she had lost all muscle control, could not eat or swallow. I prayed for God to take His child home and He did the very next morning. I was holding her hand when she made the transition. As much I loved my mother, I didn’t want her to suffer.
When I pray, since my abilities are limited, I pray for Holy Spirit to interact with people and for hearts to be willing to hear. I pray for wisdom and guidance and when a situation is really serious, I connect with prayer warriors to be in agreement with solution. No matter how God responds, I believe He will answer every prayer.
Part 2 tomorrow