Monday, November 17, 2008

God Can Do What He Says He Can Do

The key word here is “can”. Yes, He can do what He says He can do, but often, much to our dismay, and sometimes beyond reasons we may never know, He doesn’t do what He says He can do. This is the topic of my blogging today. How do we continue to have faith and believe God for miracles, and yet not be offended when He doesn’t answer the way that we know He can?

The following notes are from the Believing God Bible Study by Beth Moore. I highly recommend reading this book, and watching her study. I only wish I had the enthusiasm and conviction she did about this subject! Let me also preface by saying: This study came to me at a time when I needed it severely. In March of 2007, my step-mom found out she had cancer. By the time she was diagnosed, they gave her little time to live; her heart and lungs were surrounded and intertwined with tumors and it was grim. When I saw her in March, her hopes were high and so were mine. I had just started this Bible study, and I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was supposed to pray for her and believe God for a miraculous healing. My intentions were all pure… I wanted this lovely woman healed, but I also knew that God would be glorified and that this would bring my father and other family members to a deeper relationship with Him. So, during the hour-long ride to meet my step mom, my (amazing, woman-of-much-faith) sister-in-law and I talked and prayed and believed together, that this was going to be a miraculous night of healing… we FELT it. Deep inside of me, I FELT it. I was ready. I anticipated the best. I KNEW a miracle was going to occur. We prayed and believed – and then no healing. MY step-mom passed away only 3 months later. This definitely tested my faith. I wondered if I had heard wrong. But how could I hear wrong, when I know it’s God’s desire to bring healing and perform miracles?! Not only that, but how could I let my other family members down who were sitting there with me, possibly thinking I was crazy for this outrageous faith? How does this make God look to them!? My faith was partially devastated, especially the part where I was going to step out in faith and start believing God for healing miracles. In addition to this recent blow to my faith, in 1995 I had the experience of watching my mom believe God for an amazing healing of her cancer, and yet she passed away too. (That’s a short sentence to describe my mom’s battle, so read more about her story here.)

And so begins the purpose of my Blog. At the time my step-mom passed away, I had already begun the “Believing God” study, which was part of my confidence in praying for her healing in the first place. However, after she passed away, I was devastated, and God knew just what I needed for my diminished faith. The next Chapter in the series was called: “Believing God can Do What He Says He Can Do.” WOW! I needed this, and it was so life-changing and it was God speaking to me right where I was in my weakness. [He’s so good like that!]

So, everything below this paragraph, are pieces [literally, taken from here-and-there to piece together my point and encouragement to you] from Beth Moore’s study, and even though it’s long, I encourage you to read all of it, and let God speak to your spirit. Maybe it’s a crushed spirit He will be speaking to. Maybe it’s a confident and assured spirit. Either way, be encouraged, and soak in the goodness of our God.

Psalm 77:14: “You are the God Who performs miracles; You display your power
among the peoples.”

As supreme as they are, accreditation and glorification are not the only reasons why Christ performed miracles. Christ also performed miracles:

  • Because He saw Great faith;
  • Because He saw great need;
  • Because He was moved with compassion
  • Because God sovereignly appointed it;
  • For reasons beyond our understanding.

There other possible explanations as to why God chooses not to intervene with a miracle in an earnestly seeking Christian’s life. God often uses difficulty and suffering to complete His good work in us. We can clearly see the role of suffering in the New Testament from the Book of Matthew to the Book of Revelation. Don’t get the feeling that we signed up for suffering when we received Jesus. Beloved, we live in a fallen world where every human being suffers to some extent. The difference is that our suffering need never been in vain. As we allow God to minister to us in our fiery trials, He is glorified, the church is edified, and we are qualified for greater reward.

When believers think of miracles, our thoughts often turn to miracles of healing. When you consider the prevalence of sickness and disease, no wonder some our most fervent prayers are for physical healing. Although I pray that you and I will learn to think far more broadly than miracles of healing, I am very aware of our desperate hope in this area. The need is overwhelming, and the seasons are rare when I haven’t joined other believers in earnest intercession for God to heal someone physically.

[Beth goes on to shares the story of 3 different people (Rick, Belinda, and Becky) who were diagnosed with “incurable” diseases, only to be miraculously healed by God!] Each of these people believed that God is in the business of healing if it is His sovereign desire in a particular case. Each of the 3 would have testified to God’s love and faithfulness even if He had not granted physical healing. Each of them believed that God continued to compel them not to accept the diagnosis. Each of them was surrounded by numbers of others who were willing to pray big prayers and believe God would physically heal them until He said or proved otherwise. However, each of them still received the treatment prescribed to them by wise physicians.

In contrast to these healings, we see other great men of faith who did not receive what they prayed for. 2 Timothy 4:20 says, “Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” Can you imagine how frustrated Paul must have been to leave Trophimus sick after he had seen so many others miraculously healed? Surely Paul prayed over him with all his might, and he certainly wasn’t short on faith!

In addition, take Moses and Elijah as described in James 5:14-18. These two men experienced our same feelings and passions. They also had insecurities, fears, disappointment… They were like us... Elijah was flesh and blood who chose to believe God. Because he did, many of his prayers were powerfully answered. Keep in mind that Moses and Elijah were tremendously used by God, but neither got everything he asked. Just the same, we are not likely going to get everything we ask. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Scripture who did. Including Christ. Check out the Garden Gethsemane. What if these men of God hadn’t asked anything because they couldn’t have everything? Can you imagine the loss?

“We can’t let our fear that God may not affirmatively answer our prayer keep us from praying!”

Lastly, John’s lifelong devotion to God and his calling is unparalleled in Scripture… He poured out his life like a drink offering for one purpose: to prepare the way of the Lord. In many ways this partnership of sorts started well. In John 1:29-34, John was certain that Christ was the One for whom he prepared the way. From a windowless cell, however, things did not look nearly as clear. Imagine John’s predicament. If he had been wrong about Jesus, he had either sacrificed all for nothing or missed the real Messiah. And if he had been right? Then Jesus had the power to free him from prison and death. He simply wasn’t using it. Have you ever had a time when none of your multiple-choice answers were good options?

John experienced the most excruciating dilemma any devoted child of God ever faces. If I may pickpocket Edwards, surely no pain is like the searing of the heart when “your God has not lived up to your expectations.” Even writing these words makes me want to sob. I have loved my God so much. He has far exceeded the expectations of this simple-minded former pit-dweller that I can hardly bring up the subject. But I must. Why? Because all of us called to faith will have this knife-sharp experience in some form and at some point. I will not dare avoid this subject and insult some of you who have lost loved ones… to disease or accident, having pleaded with God to deliver them. I’d go so far as to suggest that the deeper we have loved God, the deeper the potential for devastation when He doesn’t intervene as we know He can.


Matthew 11:6 says, “Blessed are you if you are not offended because of Me.”

Beloved, our God is a God of wonders. Will we not ask because we are afraid of being offended? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Or will we ask, knowing that He is able, but trusting that He is good even if He doesn’t act? Blessed are we if we are not offended with Jesus.

…In all honesty, we just do not know why God physically heals some and not others. But, we can know without a shadow of a doubt that the issue is not a lack of divine love or kindness. Many eternal factors are involved that we won’t understand until we see Christ face-to-face.
Until then, we must not lack faith for the healing of many because we do not see the healing of all.

"His ways are beyond our ways, but they are always good, always right, and
always for the kingdom.”

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1 comment:

Living In His Arms said...

"When you can't see God's hand, trust His heart." This little quote has been my backbone at times when I haven't understood what in the world God was or wasn't doing. I think that's how Jesus knew how to pray and what to pray for because he knew his father's heart.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
You would think it would be that simple.
I know exactly how you feel, Shanen! When you've prayed your heart out, your tears out, your gut out for someone's healing, someone's salvation, someone's desire for the Lord to come back and nothing happens. While the wait kills us...

"I do know that God uses every second of a divinely-ordained wait to build us into the individuals our future demands we be. One of the most peculiar and exquisite experiences of faith is realizing that while we haven't seen answers, we've learned how to see God Himself right in the blindness of our circumstances." (Week 8 * Day Four * of The Patriarchs by Beth Moore)
Know that God wanted to see your mom and Rose healed as much as you did and they were. They were taken to be in His very presence for their ultimate healing. He healed them, He just chose a different location than we all would have prefered. I know it's hard sweetie and I know you miss them, but don't let your faith be shaken. God put you right where you needed to be in order to pray for those He was about to meet face to face.

I Love You!