A Step In My Journey of Faith
I struggle with an element of faith on the daily. Asking God for what I need or want. I have no problem praying for others, I am even doing better at praying for those I do not necessarily like very much. When I tell you “praying” on a Facebook comment 9 out of 10 times, I stop right then and there and say a prayer. I do not want the act of me telling you I am praying to be lip service.
Prayer is vital. I find myself talking to God frequently during the day. I just can’t seem to get over the asking for myself thing. I believe it is a two-fold problem for me. 1. I feel like I am being self-serving to ask for things for myself, even if it is something I need. Perhaps this is from years of being bad teaching and worse listening on my part. I do not feel comfortable with asking from God, because he has given me so much. 2. The “what-if” creeps in. I prayed that God would heal my head and that I would be cured of my migraines. My pain was much less and I was able to function. Improvement is not healing, but it is a step. The “what-if” comes in the form of “what if I am not healed”? Doubt. Doubt is painful. Doubt is poison to faith. So I pray and read my bible and ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me where the short coming is. Two things keep coming to mind. The first is “where two or more are gathered” and the second “laying on of hands”.
I’m a pretty smart person, so I should be able to take the cues and go forward. Truth be told, there is an element of fear. I don’t like giving the devil credit for anything, but God does not give a spirit of fear…the devil does. God has answered prayers for me. My family is in church. My husband is involved in church with me. My older son is getting involved with church and playing music that glorifies God again. My knee was restored. When I was young, prayer of other believers brought me back from the brink of death. I KNOW that prayer works. I KNOW that God heals. I was witness to hearing and sight being restored during the festival of life. So why do I feel like I need an engraved invitation or permission to ask for restoration in my own body.
I have a theory about the obstacles I am still pushing through. Something big is happening. I do not know if it is our leadership of the Growth Track team, working with the youth, my upcoming Connect Group, my blog or the book I am working on. Something big is brewing for me spiritually. An opportunity to be used by God for the purpose of growing his kingdom. The devil is going to try and stop that every chance he gets.
Yesterday, I was struck with pain in my back like nothing I have felt. Years ago I had an issue with my sciatic but it resolved itself and I have not had issues since. Yesterday, I was cooking and my back started to bother me a little (not uncommon when I wear flip-flops). After I finished in the kitchen I sat down. An hour later I could barely move. I have no idea what I may have done to myself…but I was in severe pain. This morning it was so bad I had to ask my husband to help me dry off after my shower, bending hurt too much. I prayed. Calling upon God’s promise to heal. Once again, the pain alleviated some. I can walk, but the ache continues. My husband even suggested me staying home and taking it easy. I am going to Church this morning. (Take that devil.)
Revelations After Going to Church or Faith Without Works Is Dead
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34.
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead James 2:17
It is now afternoon. I went to church. I was deeply blessed. My discomfort is not completely gone but God touched my body. I can move and walk without pain. My muscles are tight, but God will provide. When I was writing this morning, I stated two thoughts kept coming to me, “where two or more are gathered” and “laying on of hands”. During the alter service there were more than two gathered and one of the pastors laid hands on me.
Faith requires action. Faith is not some abstract idea we toss around. Remember a while ago I mentioned that the definition of faith is “complete trust and confidence in someone or something”. How do we express faith? I show trust in my children by allowing them to do (action) certain things. I remember my father handing me the keys to his truck and asking me to drive home from a Boy Scout camping trip with my children. That action showed he had faith in me. My husband and I show we have faith in one another by our actions on a daily basis. Expressing faith in God and his word is no different. Going to church this morning was an act of faith. (Remember my mustard seeds chant? This morning was mustard seeds.) I have found that many times God speaks to me as he did this morning. A scripture, a comment from a sermon or a praise/worship song gets in my head like a loop. Yielding to that gentle urging always comes together for my good.
I struggle with doubts and questions all the time. I ask why. I try to plan contingency plans for almost everything. That is very much my human nature. I cannot tell you the number of times I whisper prayers throughout my day asking God to help me trust in him. (Mustard seeds) The flesh is weak. The flesh is really weak. So today when I went to the alter and received prayer it was about far more than my physical hurts. When I left the alter, I walked as if I had no pain. (I still ached, but I walked like I didn’t.) The pain is much less intense than it was yesterday, much less than it was when I arrived at church this morning.
Here is my theory. God knows me better than I know myself. He CAN do anything, but he is going to do what is best for me. (Which is not always what I want at the time.) My mother will tell you I have to learn the hard way. The upside to learning the hard way is that once a lesson is learned, it is learned well. I have witnessed others receiving instant healing or being saved and filled with the Spirit all at once. That has not been my experience. For me to receive the Baptism of the Spirit took me fasting, praying and seeking more in my faith. Say what you will, I needed that process. When Ms. Joi prayed with me to receive the Spirit on August 18th, I was coming out of my skin ready to receive what God had for me all along. At one time I thought something was wrong with me or my faith was broken because I was not where I thought I needed to be. I think there is someone who will read this blog that has the same hang-ups, doubts and questions that I have had. You may ask and instantly receive or you may need the process. It is not necessarily a reflection of your faith. Going through the process, pressing in was and is an act of faith for me. Walking out of service as if I had no pain, was faith in action for me.
There are many quotes out there stating that life is about the journey not the destination. Life is about both. My destination is Heaven, but the journey between here and there, now and then is very important. Lately, there has been a lot of teaching at church about God’s promises being a NOW event and not a future promise. The Bible does not say we will ____ (fill in the blank). It says we are, we do, we go…it is present tense action not just future tense promises. The promise of present health, present peace and being overcomers. It is all promised NOW.
Pastor Luke reiterated being Overcomers in service this morning multiple times. Overcome is a verb. It is action. The definitions listed are 1. To get the better of in a struggle or conflict, conquer, defeat or 2. To prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount. I am overcoming doubt. I am overcoming illness. I am an overcomer. It is a process, but that is who and what I am in Christ. I claim it in Jesus name.
Check out today’s message at CenterBranch.org available on Livestream.