From the time I was a little boy I have longed for a life without limits. How cool would it be to have the ability to fly? No, not in an airplane, but just be able to fly? How awesome would it be to be able to run forever and not get tired? Can you imagine being able to lift more than anyone else? We love the idea of being able to do incredible things that defy the odds and what most would claim to be impossible. Perhaps you have even been asked the question, “What would you do if you had unlimited money?” We are enamored by the thought of having unlimited abilities, resources, and talents. It allows us to dream big and smile.
I wonder if we dream way too small of dreams when it comes to the church that Jesus built? Do we dream that one day our congregation would have to add on to our building to accommodate new Christians? Do we then remind ourselves that numbers don’t really matter? Do we dream about God using us as His people to shine a light so bright in our community that the world would have no choice but to see that city on a hill? Only to remind ourselves, that people are busy and they probably wouldn’t notice if we did some grand work. Do we pray for that person who has left the faith, in hopes that their heart will turn back to the Lord? Only to add the phrase “if it be your will” to our prayer. We know that we should pray in keeping with God’s will, and allow for God’s will to be different than ours. Jesus did it, we should too. However, if we are really honest with ourselves, we might admit that at least occasionally when we say those words, it is due, in part, to our doubt that God can or will answer what we have asked of Him.
What is the biggest limit to the church being who we were meant to be? What is the biggest hinderance to the borders of the kingdom expanding? What is the biggest reason that our prayers seem to not yield what we hope for? There may be a variety of answers to these questions, and I do not pretend to speak for them all. Allow me to offer one possible answer to these questions.
OUR FAITH IS TOO SMALL:
When you study the Gospel of Matthew, this stands out in a pretty major way. Think with me regarding a few passages of scripture…
A man with leprosy approached Jesus and simply said, “If you will, you can make me clean”. Notice what this leper believed about Jesus, if it was Jesus’ will for him to be healed, he would be healed. He was healed.
We read of a roman centurion who had obviously heard a lot about Jesus and His abilities. He came to Jesus asking Him to heal a servant. However, he had such faith in Jesus, that he said- “Only say the word and my servant will be healed”. This man believed that if Jesus would simply speak the words, his servant would be healed. Do you remember what happened? Jesus spoke the words and the servant was healed.
We see two amazing miracles. One is a woman who had a medical issue that no one could fix, and she believed that if she could only touch the garment of Jesus she would be healed. The other, was a synagogue ruler’s daughter who had died. The father believed that if Jesus could lay his hands on her, she would live again (talk about faith!) What do we see happen? The woman touched the garment of Jesus and she was healed. Jesus grabbed the hand of the ruler’s daughter and raised her back to life!
– We see that crowds had gathered around jesus and they believed that if they could just touch His garment, they would be healed. Do you know what happened to every single person who touched His garment? Yep, they were healed.
What is the point of looking back on these incredible accounts of these miracles? There are two main takeaways I want to ask you to think on and consider.
- Every person was healed to the point that they believed they would be.
If someone thought that Jesus just had to desire to heal them, then that is what Jesus did. If someone thought they would be healed by the touching His garment, that is what happened. If someone thought that they would be healed by Jesus speaking the word, then Jesus spoke the word. If someone thought that Jesus would heal them by touching them, then Jesus touched them. What is the point? The point is, Jesus always worked in their lives in proportion to their faith. Is it possible that we don’t “see God working” like we wish that we did, because our faith is too small? Because we don’t believe He really will? Because we doubt when we pray? Which leads us to the second big takeaway.
2. We serve that very same God.
We serve the same God who heals the sick, raises the dead, preaches the truth, and saves the world. When you pray today, remember who you are talking to. You are not speaking to an unknown being. You are not speaking a “wish into the air”. You are bringing your requests before the God of heaven. What do you believe God can do through you? Pray big prayers. Pray impossible prayers. Don’t limit the working of God with your small faith.
You may not be able to jump off a building and fly (you can’t, don’t try), you may not be able to lift more than the incredible hulk, or run forever without getting tired. But you have something more incredible than any of those things, a God who wants to hear from you.
– 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”