May 24, 2014

Believing & Expecting

This is a follow-up to the post on Thursday, The Prayers of the Righteous.

Jesus spoke often about believing. He said, "I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Obviously, Jesus is not saying, "Just ask willy nilly - whatever you want - God will give it!" The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is not a genie. Jesus is talking about our hearts lining up with the heart of God. But he is also talking about having the faith to believe that God not only hears us, but wants to give us our hearts desire WHEN our hearts line up with his will. We must believe. This is faith.

I believe that for most of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, when we pray, we believe. We know that God "owns the cattle on a thousand hills", so we also trust that (as Paul said) He will "supply all our needs according to his riches". And when we cry out to him to bring healing to a little boy who is on the verge of death, because we know he is the Great Physician - because Jesus healed the lame, the blind, the deaf, and the leper - and he in fact called 4-days dead Lazarus out the grave - we BELIEVE that he can heal. We don't doubt for a second that he is capable. That he is able. We believe.

But do we EXPECT?

Think on this for a moment. 

Do we expect God to do what we're asking him to do? To provide the miracle?

There's a great story in Acts 12 about Peter being arrested and imprisoned. As an angel came and rescued Peter from prison, it wasn't until he was at the city gate that he came to and realized he wasn't dreaming. He then said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me..." At that, he went to John Mark's house where "many were gathered together and praying." He knocked on the door. A servant girl named Rhoda answered. She was so excited that she ran to tell everyone and forgot to open the gate for Peter. But when she reported to everyone that "Peter was at the gate" - when she told all the people who were undoubtedly praying for Peter's protection, strength, and presumably, even his rescue - they said to her, "You are out of your mind!"

She kept telling them. They told her she was crazy.

Of course, they eventually realize that Rhoda was NOT crazy and that yes, in fact, Peter was rescued and standing at the gate. 

They may have been praying and believing, but they were not praying and expecting.

I wonder, how often do we do this?

And I wonder why we do this.

Do we not expect because we don't want to be let down?

Have we asked before and the answer was "No", and we don't want to have to hear "No" again?

Or maybe we don't want to look or feel silly, like we were duped or fooled.

In Habakkuk 2:1, the prophet says, "I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint." Habukkuk not only believed that the Lord could answer him; he believed that he would. He was going to stand watch and wait patiently, believing that God was going to respond.

Jesus told the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount to "keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking."

How much does it change things to move from simply believing to expecting?

What do you think?

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