Conditional Faith

"Jesus asked, 'Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?'" ~John 4:48

“[A certain royal official from the King's court] did what many of us do when we're in a tight spot, when we're in a tough situation, we try to control every detail.  You see, perceived control creates the illusion of calm.  Lack of control gives birth to fear so we try to take control.  And we become control freaks.  We try to control whatever we can.  We never take a risk without a Plan B.  We never take a leap without a parachute.  Never give away our heart for fear of a broken one.  We never 'step on a crack less we break mother's back...'  We face our anxiety and fear by trying to take control.  But have we learned the more we try to control the world, the more we realize we can't?  And life becomes this cycle of fear and failure.  We realize we can't take control because control is not ours to take.

The Bible has a better idea.  Rather than seeking total control, relinquish it.  You can't run the world, but you can entrust your world to God.  This is why it seems to me that Jesus felt a warning to the official (and the onlookers) was in order.  He cautioned against conditional faith, contingent faith, a faith based on a planned and controlled outcome.  Friends, contingent faith is the faith of sidewalk chalk.  It's beautiful when the sun is out and shining, but it washes away when the rain falls.  We need to anchor our souls in the goodness of God - the permanence of God's sovereignty.  He knows what we need and He reigns supreme over every detail of the universe.  He has not entrusted that to us.  God's answer for troubled times has always been the same: Heaven has an occupied throne.

So, when your job is gone, when your health diminishes, when the economy takes a nose-dive, it's easy to jump into action-mode and try to take control.  But when calamity strikes I would encourage you to just stand firm in the Lord's Sovereignty.  Your fear will decrease as your understanding of your heavenly Father's ability increases.  God is King; He is Supreme Ruler; He is absolute Monarch; He is Overlord over all - all of history...  And His sovereignty gives us an inside track to peace.  When others see the problems of the world they wring their hands.  When you and I see the problems of the world, we bend our knees.

Don't take hold of your troubles.  Place your troubles in the hands of your loving Father - the One Who is our ever-present source of help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1.  Jesus will do the same for you.

You're begging for healing, you're begging for help, you're begging for wisdom, you're begging for strength... Could I encourage you, dear friend, stand upon the promises of God.  Anchor your hope in the heart of your Almighty God.  It could very well be that your answers will come this side of heaven.  It could very well be the answers will come on the other side.  Either way, this story reminds you and me - keep walking, keep believing, keep believing in our Sovereign God.  Help is here.  Help may come in the manner that we request.  Help may come in a manner far greater than we've ever imagined but it will come!  It will come!

So set your compass on the pole star of God's promise and place one weary foot in front of the other - just one weary foot in front of the other.  Jesus has spoken!  Let His Word do what It was intended to do - to give you strength, to give you faith, and to lead you home.  Friend, you're never without hope.  You're never without help.  Because you're never without Christ, you're never alone.  All the best!" ~Max Lucado

This official wanted Jesus to heal his son and do it in a specific way - HIS way - come with him and heal his son in person.  (Perhaps to see the miracle in person?)  And the official continued to plead and not give up until he got HIS way...)  But God had mercy on this man and his son anyway.  God did grant the official's request of healing but didn't give in to healing the way the official wanted.

And that's why I think I was the way I was - trying to control everyone and everything because I needed that control to feel safe.  Now that I believe more every day that God has the power to do what is right and the wisdom to know when and how to do what He wishes... (now that I'm surrendering more to His authority over me and over all of life instead of to my authority and power and wisdom...), I wonder what I'm still praying about and requesting that I'm insisting be done in my way and in my time?  (I know of at least one thing, but I bet there's more.)

The Good News is God is patient with us while He helps us figure all this out.  Won't you walk with Him on His journey?  I'm glad I finally choose to surrender to walking in His Way - even when I don't get my way - even when His way takes me away from where I think I want to go [because where I really want to go (and to always be) is with God.  I've learned to trust that His way is always better for me, even when I don't like it, understand it, or want it).

Walking with God, choosing to surrender to God's Way, is not a contract we agree to with Terms and Conditions, it's a Covenant Relationship we both can enjoy.  God is staying faithful to follow His Way with us.  Are we staying faithful to follow His Way with Him?

1 comment