At house church this week we talked about the faith of the centurion in Luke 7. I think what set the centurion apart was that he believed in possibilities, that good things could happen. His heart hadn’t grown cynical and jaded.
(Jesus) was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. . . . But say the word, and my servant will be healed. . . . When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
I think of the things that keep us from having faith and believing in possibilities.
Doubt is toxic to faith. We read James 1:6-7 — But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Instead of doubting, we should realize that God gives generously to all, without finding fault. A quick word study — generous here means “simply, sincerely, graciously, bountifully.” Finding fault means “without reproaching, reviling, upbraiding.”
It’s encouraging to see that God wants to give to us bountifully, without being nitpicky and saying, “I won’t give to you because you do such and such.” Yes, we need to have faith. But God isn’t interested in withholding because of our mistakes and shortcomings.
Fear is toxic to faith. It holds us back. We don’t even step out. We don’t even put something out there that God can work with. We are afraid of failure, afraid God won’t care enough to answer, so we don’t believe in the possibilities.
And we need to believe in the possibilities. I love how Mark Batterson put it in “The Circle Maker. He said, “You can live with holy anticipation.”
I want to live in holy anticipation of how I will see God work through each day.
Yesterday we saw God work.
I took Marge to a medical appointment, and we shared with the nurse, Maggie. Maggie told us how she is caring for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She told us how just had surgery on her neck, and now has to go to physical therapy.
We told Maggie about church, and how it was like family. She seemed interested, but a lot of people do.
But then while Marge was with the doctor, I was dozing in my chair, and Maggie came and said, “I’m sorry to wake you up, but can you tell me where your church is located?” How many people take the initiative to come back and find out more? That was so cool. We’ll be praying for Maggie.
Holy anticipation opens the door to possibilities.
Doubt and fear shut the door.
In closing, I want to say something about completely relying on God. It comes to me now more than ever that God’s way is the only way things will work out in each and every situation.
I’m not praying enough. I have to pray about each situation, because on my own, just leaving things up to whatever, things may not go the right way. But if I pray, God is watching over and guiding the situation.
I’m like a sailboat and God is the wind and the current.
I need to pray and then trust that God is taking me in the direction that is GOOD, give myself over to Him completely, with joy.
Totally relying on God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:5
And totally living in eager holy anticipation of the adventure.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Ps 5:3