“I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
This was the cry of a father who had brought his child to Jesus for healing and to have an evil spirit cast out of the child. The disciples had been unable to accomplish this. Now, that father had turned to Jesus. He explained the situation to Jesus and asked Him to have compassion on them, if He was able to do anything. Jesus said, “’If you can!’ All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
I wonder how many times God responds this way to our requests of Him. We come to Him with our needs and desires, asking Him to bring them to pass. But in our hearts, we don’t believe that He can or will. Or at least that is what our life demonstrates. As I look back on my life, there are many things that I have asked of God over the years. Down deep, though, I wonder whether I will receive the answer I am looking for. There could be a number of things at the root of this unbelief.
Maybe I don’t believe I deserve it. Do I wonder whether it is actually the will of God for me? Am I wanting instant relief and not willing to wait for God’s best, which might be something different than what I asked for? Do my circumstances overwhelm me to the point that my focus is on them and not on God and His promises? Do I really trust God and believe that He wants the very best for me, no matter what? Regardless of the reasons, the ultimate solution is not in figuring it all out. The answer lies in trusting the Almighty God.
God has the power to accomplish anything. Throughout history, God has been reminding those He has called that He is able to accomplish what He says He will do. When God promises, God fulfills. There is no limitations on His abilities to accomplish His purposes (Numbers 11:23; Isaiah 59:1). It is not dependent on our abilities, amount of faith, or our worthiness. Ultimately, we don’t deserve anything from God except the wrath of His judgment. Anything besides or beyond that is a gift of His love, mercy, and grace (Ephesians 2:1-10). And God delights to give good gifts to His children. Jesus told us this (Matthew 7:7-11). God wants us to find our greatest hope, joy, and satisfaction in Him. And He can and will do this in our lives.
God will accomplish anything that is according to His will. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) God has said that if we will delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). When I delight in God, my ways are transformed to reflect His character. My desires and actions become more like those of Jesus, my Savior. As a result, my prayers and requests will begin to come in to conformance with His will and purposes for my life. Even still, all that I ask from God may not be what I receive, in the end. And that’s a good thing.
What is best for us is not always what we ask for from God. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) Martha said this to Jesus, when he arrived in their town after Lazarus had already died. She believed in Jesus’ ability enough to know that He could have healed her brother. However, Jesus delayed His arrival, on purpose. In the end, his delay would bring them even greater amazement and joy. God would be glorified. But it was not what Mary and Martha intended when they had called for Jesus. God does not always give us what we ask for. Sometimes, He withholds what we request so that we have something greater. He always wants us to have what is best. His wisdom is perfect. He knows what is best, for every person and in every circumstance. But when we don’t know what is going on, it can be difficult.
We may not be able to see the way clearly, but God is always worthy of our trust. God sees the beginning to the end of all things. His knowledge of history past, present and future is perfect. That includes our personal history. And His wisdom regarding our circumstances and needs is flawless. He will never miss anything. He won’t forget. He will never misjudge a situation. He will work all things for the good of those who love Him, every time (Romans 8:28). That is His promise. If we place our trust in Him, God will always lead us in the right direction and to the best possible results.
In my life, there are many things that I do not understand. There are situations that I wish would change. I have life goals that I am yet to obtain, and as the years roll by, I wonder if they will ever be obtained. However, I have been around long enough to see some of the things God has done behind the scenes. Things, that at the time, seemed either mundane or that I even viewed as failures. Yet, those events have been used to build a foundation on which future opportunities would be presented. If I look closely, these moments in time go back through my very early years, as much of them as I can remember. I could have never foreseen what God was going to bring to pass. Everything from meeting my wife, choices of schools and studies, struggles of faith, and career and ministry opportunities. People that God put in my path. Things I heard on the radio. The birth of our children. There are so many things that I can, at this point in my life, say that God ordained for His glory and my joy.
God is not random. He never stumbles into anything. His wisdom and purposes are flawless. He desires the absolute best for us. And if we will place our trust in Him, He will lead us safely and joyfully home to Him. Even in this confusing world we live in, in the midst of trials and failures, God can and will work in us and through us, bringing joy and blessing to our lives and the lives of others. Though the way may seem unclear, God is worthy of our trust, always.
Together for His glory…