Faith can be a touchy subject sometimes. We’re supposed to have it (the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God), but it is often difficult because we are supposed to believe in what our senses are not yet telling us. It is also difficult because things don’t always work out the way we expect, and sometimes opposite of the way we want. Even though it is for our own good when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way we want, it hurts! We have prayed for the healing of loved ones who did not heal. We have prayed for “the one” to spend the rest of our life with, and they don’t show up. We have prayed for an increase in finances only to have more expenses instead.
I am not trying to paint a negative picture here. God always hears our prayers and answers in our best interest every time. The problem is that if someone has been hurt by difficult circumstances, regardless of the fact that God has them in our lives for good, it is very difficult to trust God and have faith in Him. I get it because I’ve been there.
My faith is generally good, though there are still plenty of times where doubt creeps in. The other night I watched a sermon from Andy Stanley on the topic of faith. I know I was led there by God because what I heard could have potentially increased my faith exponentially. I wanted to share this with you, especially if you happen to be struggling with your faith these days.
The main idea that struck me was this…. instead of focusing on what God will do for you, focus on what God CAN do for you. He references a Bible verse, Matthew 8:2 where Jesus heals a man of leprosy. The man kneels before Him and says, “if you are willing you can make me clean.” He knows Jesus can heal him. However, he leaves it in His will to do so.
Why is this focus much more effective? The explanation the pastor gave was this… when we focus on what God will do, we are asking on shaky ground. It is great to have faith that something you pray for will happen. However, as I said before, God doesn’t always answer the way we would expect. You are not 100% sure of what God will do, so that leaves doubt, and at least some wonder if God will come through, especially if you are remembering other times where your prayer wasn’t answered as desired. On the other hand, when you pray and focus on what God CAN do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. You know God can do ALL things. Nothing is impossible with Him. The leper acknowledged this in his prayer.
This is very powerful to me because it provided an incredible peace. In fact, I was immediately tested on this. In the middle of that same night, I woke up and heard water running in my basement. I realized that it was the sump pump that keeps the water out, and it wasn’t shutting off. It wasn’t flooding, but that potential was there. It was 1:30 am, so there was no one to call. All I felt like I could do was pray. And I prayed in the way I learned a few hours before. Sure, I wondered if I may still awake to a flood. However, I prayed knowing that God could easily fix this problem. I left it up to Him how and with what level of difficulty or damage. After I said the prayer that way, I felt a great peace. I certainly didn’t want a basement flood to happen, but I knew that even if it did, it was still for my good somehow. The next morning, within a few hours, I had someone here to fix and resolve the problem with just a small cost.
Once again, when you focus your faith on what God can do instead of what He will do, your faith is based on 100% assurance. There is no doubt He can do anything. Instead of trying to believe God will come through for me, my prayers are like, “I know you can do this. And I pray that you do.” Unlike praying for what He will do, which can lead to some wavering because of the uncertainty, this type of prayer allows me to focus more on His promises. That actually increases my faith even more!
For me, I feel like it has taken my faith to a much higher level. It has increased my confidence and trust in God, and I am more ready to accept whatever outcome He has for me. It has also brought me closer to Him. Also, I firmly believe you will receive many positive answers to your prayers the way Jesus answered the leper. “I am willing” is what He said in the next verse. And the leper was healed.
I will share a link to this sermon here. The ironic thing is that this is only a small piece of it and not even the main point. However, it has stuck with me, and as mentioned, it is a major faith booster.
I challenge you to focus your prayers this way. Focus mainly on what God CAN do, and leave what He will do to Him. I strongly believe your faith will grow too. Enjoy the blessings 🙂