Faith vs Realism
We have all been there. Prayed and asked…then nothing. We feel let down…left to pick up the pieces and deal with our discouragement after we have asked and not received. I have heard many people, even mature Christians and veteran church staffers talk about how they asked of God and He did not come through for them…at least in the way they wanted Him to.
I too, have dealt with this. I too, have asked God for big things and found myself upset with God and disappointed when I did not receive. I often wondered, “What happened to ask and you shall receive?” I now realize that I have been asking in the wrong way…without faith. I was trying to access my life’s desires by way of a cosmic genie rather than a holy and loving God who sees the whole picture…who’s will is perfect. I was trying to operate in faith while still being a realist.
Realism in its self is not a bad thing. In many ways it keeps us balanced…it keeps us functioning in the realms of actuality. When it comes to faith it is crippling. Let’s take a quick look at what Jesus had to say about having faith and asking:
20When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
-Matthew 21:20-22 (ESV)
In this passage of Scripture Jesus plainly states that if our faith is deep enough…if we do not doubt, whatever we ask we will receive. This approach to asking and faith is contrary to how the majority of us handle asking. Most of us…myself included…approach God with an attitude of realism. We do a great job convincing ourselves and others that God can do all things and pretend to trust Him fully, yet we keep a portion of ourselves held back in realism.
Realism has become our safety blanket. When things do not turn out the way we desire or when God does not beat the odds we comfort ourselves by saying, “Well we knew this would happen.” Jesus says that we must abandon ourselves in faith and trust IN HIM. You see, our faith is not just in what we will receive, but our faith is in God…that He is sufficient…that He can and will work…on His terms.
One of my favorite pastors and speakers is Matt Chandler. I was listening to some of his messages the other day and stumbled across this video. In this video a bald Chandler hits the heart of trusting in God.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
-Daniel 3:16-18 (ESV)
I too love this TRUE story. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s trust was not in the act of being saved from the furnace, but in God who saved them. Their approach was sold out. They did not say, “God can save us, but we will probably die in the fire.” Their safety blanket and fall back plan was not a realistic approach. It was that God can and will work AND EVEN IF HE DOESN’T He is still God. He is still in control. That is our safety blanket…that is our comfort. That He is God and nothing surprises Him or is out of His control. There is also such peace and comfort in handing over all of our burdens and requests to God and allowing Him to work. This takes things out of our human hands…which can fail and falter…and puts them in the firm grasp of the almighty God.
What if we abandoned all to God? What if we made the decision to trust God without wavering? What if we traded in our realism for steadfast faith in God…the same God who parted seas and raised people from the dead? I am not claiming that our prayers, whether big or small, will immediately be answered the way we want. I am not saying that we will not be upset or shed tears. What I am saying is that where there is genuine faith in God there is no room for earthly realism. What I am saying is that we need operate as Jesus asks us to…in total submission to God’s authority and power in all things, big and small.
Posted on November 25, 2011, in Christian Living, Leadership and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Family Ministry, Matt Chandler, Pastor, Realism, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.