believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence
Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet? While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer. ‘You stopped believing. You gave up’.
It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).
I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’? What happened to me along the way? Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me? Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past? Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me? Or was I just impatient?
Jairus only had one child. She was 12 years old and she was dying. He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known. My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live (Mark 5:23).
Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home. Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do. He had to wait. As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).
That’s right. Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for. And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him. He stops and begins talking to this woman. I can only imagine how Jairus felt. It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us. You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.
We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her. You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news. There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further? (Mark 5:35). He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up. Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe (Mark 5:36). Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him? Despite what has happened, believe Me again. Trust Me again and I shall do what I said. And guess what? Jairus did just that. When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.
Jairus and this woman were very different. Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter. The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her. She touched him. She mixed faith with works. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole (Matthew 9:21). What you tell yourself is important. If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman. She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted. It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.
It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on. Not every thought is from God. What the woman said to herself started as a thought. Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be. It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing. One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.
Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole (Luke 8:50). Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life). This is another problem we have. A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking. I’ll give you a good example. A friend of mine had a sick grandmother. For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter. The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better. God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually. He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity. Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.
Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son? When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I love how honest and humble this man was. This is what he was really saying: Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area. Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe. Help me to trust You. I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13. Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still believed God. In fact, they died believing God.
I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance. They trusted again. They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship. So, I’m going to give Love another chance. I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed. I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ. When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue. I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.
[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]
wait: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time; to stay in place with expectation
I think one of the reasons why we get ourselves in a mess from time to time is because we don’t want to wait.
In Luke 15, a certain man had two sons and the younger son had a waiting problem, too. Father, give me the share (portion) of property (estate, inheritance) that is coming to me (vs 12, ESV). According to his statement, it wasn’t his time – yet. Normally, a person has to die before his/her property is transferred to another person, but this young man couldn’t wait for his father to die. He wanted to possess what was promised to him NOW. There is a right time for everything, but when you refuse to wait, impatience leads to stupid mistakes (Proverbs 14:29, CEB).
He was where he needed to be, but not many days after receiving what rightfully belonged to him, he left for a country that was far away – from his father, from his position and from the life already chosen for him. Had he understood all that his father had, he would have never asked for a portion. His father was training him and preparing him for what was coming to him, but he left the process prematurely. He thought he knew more than his father. He thought he had it figured out. What he didn’t know was that responsibility came with the inheritance. I’m not sure of his age, but asking for something only to use it on oneself was a sign of immaturity.
Sometimes the enemy will try to convince you that you’re missing out on something or that you’re running out of time. I don’t know what he was in search of, but whatever it was, he never found it because it was in the place that he left. He wasted his substance living a life contrary to the one that he was taught. He knew right from wrong. The moment he spent it all, a mighty famine came and he began to be in want. He wasn’t prepared for a time such as this. When he lived with his father, he didn’t want for anything, but in this country, he had to toil and no one gave him anything. He was feeding another’s man pigs, but he himself was hungry – so hungry that he desired to eat what the pigs were eating. No one cared for him or took care of him like his father.
I’m not sure how long he worked in the fields, but he was literally in a mess – a pig’s mess, to be exact. He probably was afraid to go back home. What would his father say? Would his father receive him again? Maybe he was too ashamed to go back home so he tried to stick it out. He tried to fix what he messed up. He tried to make things work. But one day, he finally came to his senses. He remembered that his father was rich and had hired servants. So, if his father was rich, that meant he was rich, too.
Some of us have been in situations longer than we should have been. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you to come to yourself. The younger son made a choice – to arise and go (vs 18). Yes, he could have left at anytime, but he had to first want to leave. He had to get tired of being in that situation. He could have said, I want to go home, but I don’t have the money, which would have been a true statement, but he didn’t let anything stop him. He had been in that field long enough.
Make a choice, not excuses.
This young man didn’t wallow in guilt or self-pity. He didn’t beat himself up over his mistakes. He walked away from his past and walked into his future. You must do what he did and lay aside the weight. You’re not going to go very far in life (or in ministry) being bitter, angry, refusing to forgive, blaming other people or refusing to do what God told you to do. The ability to get up – to arise – is in you. The only person who is stopping you is you.
It was going to be a long journey back home, but that journey was life changing because it caused him to humble himself and to repent of his sin (vs 21). What was so beautiful about this parable was that in the end, he got what his father wanted him to have all along – the best!
Bring forth the best (vs 22).
To every purpose, there is time. Don’t focus on the time – When is God going to do it? Focus on the purpose – What am I doing now? I know we want things now, but if you learn to wait, you will not be disappointed because the Lord is good to those who wait for HIM (Lamentations 3:25).