Your belief about what Jesus is capable of, will determine how content and full of peace you are in this world–not what He actually does, but what He could do. Faith in Jesus is not concerned with the demonstration of power. Faith in Jesus is demonstrated by the peace drawn from the conviction that His power will be used in your best interest.
What is happening in life that hurts? What situation causes you to become anxious and worry? Which person do you know who makes your life difficult? Guess what…God knows and He is guiding you through that dark path. If you believe He is there, even though you can’t see Him, and if you love Him, then you will be convinced that the darkness you are experiencing is what He wants you to experience, or else He would save you from it. It boils down to what you believe He has the power to do and embracing your current situation because if He desired you to not endure it, you wouldn’t.
Here’s an example of this relationship. If I bring Michael Jordan to a 2 on 2 game of basketball against 2 of my friends, I know that Michael and I will win. I know that Michael would win without me, playing against my 2 friends. He does not have to prove that he could dunk the basketball from the free throw line to demonstrate his ability. Based on his reputation and my belief in him, I know we would win and I would have no fear. Now if my friends started scoring some points and got ahead of us I would get confused and wonder what in the world was going on…after all, I’ve got Michael Jordan on my team. But I would know that he was letting them win. I wouldn’t know why, but I would know it was on purpose. Maybe Michael is trying to teach me a lesson about something, if he didn’t tell me I wouldn’t know at the time necessarily, but I would know it was intentional because I know Michael’s power and ability. Jesus loves me and the purpose he has for “letting the others win”, whatever that looks like, is for my good and for others to witness His power through me–the power to believe in what is greater than seeing a demonstration of power–belief in who God is and what his intentions are for me. We have to come to grips with the reality that our victories may not be seen on this earth.
Are you about to die on the open sea? Why be afraid if you believe in Jesus? Someone might say that it is normal to be afraid of such a frightening situation! But believing in Jesus is not normal. That belief grants you peace that surpasses human understanding (Phil. 4:7). If you are going to die then it is God’s will. If you ask for deliverance and are not delivered then it is His will that you not be delivered and you know that your faithful suffering is like an aroma to God that communicates your trust/faith. If you pray for a person in your life to change and they don’t, then you know it is not God’s will that they change–at least not in order to alleviate your suffering. You can have peace in the darkest valley of life knowing that the God of the universe has not plucked you from the painful circumstance you are in, but that He could. So you know that if He has that type of power, to do anything you could think of, then if He has allowed you to endure the pain of your life, that power to endure rests on you because He is with you in that valley. Consider Psalm 23:1-4
- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
This Psalm is not a song of praise to God for never making life hard when we are following Him. It is a Psalm of submission. One exclaiming that the green pastures, the right paths, are sometimes treacherous and hurtful–leading to our death (either physical or emotional). But our joy and faith rest in the fact that no matter where we go, Jesus has taken us by the hand and is leading us there–which means He is with us and we are at peace.
Matthew 10:29;30; says “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent…So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
The idea is NOT this: Because you are more valuable than 2 small birds worth a single penny, God will not let anything bad happen to you.
The idea is this: Because God cares enough to “sign off” on the death of every small bird, you can guarantee that what happens with you is fully under His control, SO…don’t be afraid! The trial in your life is your ministry at this time. Rejoice! God may not remove the trial from you. Will that prove that He is not that big after all and will you constantly question God’s love for you? Will that make you question His power and existence? Or will you humble yourself and understand that your suffering is justified in His eyes. That your pain glorifies Him. That any issue you have had in life is meant for your good and to show His great power.
It is not about what He does, but what He can do. If we live our whole lives believing that He can do ALL things but never receive a physical sign of that power, we will be truly blessed–that is faith. What else can you believe? He is real. He is the Creator. The fact is that physical deliverance does nothing for the soul.
In Matthew 8, Jesus encounters two types of faith:
- Little Faith
- His own Jewish disciples
- Matthew 8:24-26 Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping. So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.
- His own Jewish disciples
- Greatest Faith
- A Roman Centurion
- Matthew 8:8;10 “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured…Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith!
- A Roman Centurion
In these examples, the disciples were in the presence of God but were not comforted by that fact. They were focused on their immediate trouble and forgot who they were following. They forgot who was in the boat with them. Obviously Jesus wasn’t concerned…He was sleeping! The disciples should have taken a page out of Jesus’s book, pulled up a pillow, and caught up on their sleep. But they couldn’t, they were terrified that they might die. However, they could have peacefully rode out the waves like their Master–THIS IS US! If we are on the stormy sea, if we are in the dark valley of the shadow of death, we can sail through it without a care if we look next to us and remember who is in the boat!!
On the other hand, look at the centurion. He was already convinced of Jesus’s power before he demonstrated it, the centurion did not need to see it which is why he simply said all that Jesus needed to do was speak the words and it would be done. That was his faith. We so often want to see it, but the centurion was past that. He believed with all of his heart. Had the centurion been in the boat, I bet that he would have been snuggled up with Jesus asking for a pillow.