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]
In the book of Genesis, Hagar was in the wilderness on two separate occasions, but I don’t want to talk about the day she was sent away. I want to talk about the day she ran away.
Abram and Sarai had been living in Canaan for ten years and there still wasn’t a baby. Since Sarai wasn’t able to get pregnant, she thought it would be a good idea for her maid to carry a child for her so she gave Hagar to her husband to be his wife. According to Genesis 16:4, Hagar looked down on Sarai once she became pregnant. She became proud, arrogant and disrespectful. Maybe Hagar didn’t realize that it was an honor and a privilege to be chosen to carry this child. Maybe she forgot that this child wasn’t hers – that she was carrying it for someone else. I know some of you may feel that Sarai got what she deserved for giving her maid to her husband in the first place, but that doesn’t justify Hagar’s behavior. Yes, she was carrying Abram’s child, but she was still the maid. She was still a slave, someone paid the price for her and she didn’t belong to herself anymore.
Sarai complained about Hagar to Abram and he basically told her, I’m out of this. That is your maid. This is between you and her. You deal with her. And that’s exactly what Sarai did. The bible tells us that Sarai dealt harshly with her. Now if you’ve ever watched a movie or read a book about slavery, then you know that most slaves who didn’t submit to their owners were beaten. Sarai beat Hagar’s body to bring it into subjection (submission), but because it didn’t feel good to her flesh, Hagar ran away.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness by a fountain of water and asked, Where did you come from and where are you going? Hagar told the angel where she was running from, but she never told him where she was running to. That’s because Hagar didn’t know where she was going. It looked like she was going to be a single mother raising a baby all by herself. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t have it all planned out yet. She was lost and unsure, but the angel gave her directions. He told her to go back to what she ran from. Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hands (Genesis 16:9).
Do you think it was easy for Hagar to go back? It probably wasn’t easy at first. I don’t think she got excited and ran back home, but when the angel of the Lord told her about her future, it gave her hope. From you will come many people – too many people to count (Genesis 16:10). She was just about to give up, but when the angel gave her a word, not only did she believe again, but she acted on what she believed. She did what the angel told her to do. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22). When we resist God and reject His word and don’t do what He asks of us, we (NOT the devil) delay His words. We delay His promises from coming to pass in our lives.
Lazy people don’t inherit the promises of God. You receive what God has promised through faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12). Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Sarai to try and try again, year after year, only to never conceive while Hagar conceived the very first time she slept with Abram? It doesn’t surprise me that Sarai got upset or became jealous of her maid. It seemed like God was doing it for Hagar and everybody else, but when was He going to do it for her? Sarai was 65 years old when God appeared to Abram and promised him a son and Isaac finally came when she was 90 years old.
The promise won’t come easy, but it shall surely come.
I’m sure there was disappointment, tears and frustration. Abram and Sarai trusted more in their flesh than they trusted in their God and God couldn’t do what He wanted to do until their will and their ways died. There was a period of waiting, but it wasn’t them waiting on God. It was God waiting on them. He waited until Abram was good as dead (Hebrews 11:12). He waited until Sarah’s womb was dead (Romans 4:19). He waited until they totally relied on Him. Then, He performed what He promised. This promise was going to be born of the Spirit, not of the flesh. I know some of you are trying to make it work or trying to fix it or trying to make things happen on your own, but what God has promised you will not be done by your might or by your power. It will only be done by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
Hagar didn’t spend a lot of years in the wilderness like the children of Israel. She didn’t go around the same mountain year after year. She humbled herself, turned, got back in her rightful place and gave Sarai the respect and honor she deserved. Hagar may have messed up, but she didn’t give up.
You can make excuses like Moses, you can run like Jonah and you can wrestle like Jacob, but you’re not going to win. You can run, but you can’t hide. God sees you (Genesis 16:13). You can’t run away from the calling, your assignment, your responsibility or the word that God has spoken concerning you. Follow the example of Hagar. Instead of running away from God (His plan, process and purpose), run to God and submit yourself under HIS hands.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will run from you (James 4:7).