In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:20-24
Sometimes we can ask for something small.
Here, Jesus didn’t ask God for something monumental. He just asked that the fig tree would not bear fruit anymore. It wasn’t about serving someone else, or saving the world.
It seemed like a personal whim. One that he actually expected God to address.
Even when he gave an example of what we can ask for in prayer, it wasn’t something productive. What would be accomplished by a mountain being thrown into the sea?
Maybe sometimes we can trouble God with the little, seemingly insignificant things we want.
Yes, we need to resist egocentricity in our prayers, thinking it’s all about us and what we want. Yes, our requests must be in line with God’s will.
But as a Father, God wants to give us what we ask for.
Last week I was talking to my son, Max, and he asked for an early birthday present — he needs a couple of shirts because the dress code for his master’s program is business casual. Now Max is grown. He seldom asks me for anything. Do you think, as a mother, I resented or belittled this request? No, I got online that evening and bought him what he wanted! I was eager to do so. That’s what moms love to do.
And I think God’s the same way.
The other thing about this passage that really got me thinking this week is how POWERFULLY Jesus expects us to live as God’s children.
It’s a continuation of a theme that runs through the whole Bible. God is passionate about His people. He stands behind them one hundred percent, and wants them to go forward boldly, confident that He is with them.
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
Do you not know have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God the Creator of the ends of the earth. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isa 40:21
From into the earth from its farthest corners I called you. I said you are my servant I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear for I am with you do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced, for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. Isa 41:9-10
And now WE are the chosen people of God!
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his site in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ . . . Eph 1:4
You did not choose me but I chose you . . . John 15:16
. . . the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
God is behind us just as fiercely as he was for the Israelites — even more so!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him have been called according to his purpose. . . Those he justified he also glorified . . . He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things. . . And all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Selections from Romans 8)
So I’ve started to act more more confidently.
And I have sought to ask God for things and believe that He is my Father, and wants to give me what I ask.
This past Saturday, I spilled water on my laptop keyboard. At first, I hoped that I could just wipe it off and all would be fine. But then I saw the white screen of death. I quickly turned the computer off, and Ken wrestled to get the screws out of my computer so we could dry it out. They next day I tried to power the computer up. Nothing. I took it to the shop.
Did I dare to pray to God to restore my computer, when I had been foolish enough to spill water on it? Could I believe God would answer this paltry prayer? That’s what I did.
And two days later, the guy from the shop said he was able to boot my computer up, and it was fine! It was resurrected from the dead!
So I am fired up with this challenge to be like Jesus, and pray and act powerfully! I’m starting conversations with people, pushing past obstacles, saying more what’s on my heart. God made me the way I am for a reason, and it’s time to be the best version of myself! No shrinking back!
We are God’s children, the apple of His eye, and we need to believe this, and walk with strength. He is behind us one hundred percent.
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6