Friday, January 8, 2010

Unbelief or Continual Hope: Postures for a new decade (part 1)

A brief series of personal reflections on how I feel God has been posturing me for this new decade. Nothing profound. Just an honest and vulnerable look at where I'm at and who God is revealing Himself to be to me.

I didn't want to begin this new year at a faith-deficit. But despite my best intentions, after watching my wife's troubled health go on for another year, I have to admit that I've found it difficult lately to continue believing for a miracle. Should I just let it go and simply learn to accept her illness as an unalterable reality? Or does God want me to still seek Him for the miraculous, trusting Him in how and when He answers?

And as I've considered all this, I began the year reading the Gospel of Luke. I was immediately faced with the familiar story of Zechariah and Elizabeth (a story I've referred to before in this blog). Though we're told "they were both righteous before God" (Luke 1:6), Zechariah sounds like he too had grown unexpectant of an answer to a long-sought-for prayer for his wife's barrenness to be healed. So much so, that he responded rather poorly when an angel actually showed up to tell him that his prayers were to be answered. Zechariah's response: "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years" (Luke 1:18). There was enough unbelief in his words -- and perhaps even his tone -- that the angel Gabriel struck him mute until the angel's words came to pass.

Imagine having so much skepticism or doubt that one would have the cheek to address an angel that way! Yet I can't help but wonder how much that sounds like me in how -- after all the years of disappointing test results -- I struggle with doubts as I read what the Bible says about healing. I feel like a "Yeah, right" has grown in my soul to do with Fiona's healing. And there's no way I want to go through 2010 with such unbelieving thoughts bouncing around in my head. God's plan may be to heal Fiona tomorrow. Is my response going to be, "How shall I know this? Prove it!"? No! Rather, I want God to help me to enter 2010 as expectant as I ever have been, eager for a miracle and trusting God in whatever He chooses to do! Just as C.S. Lewis says of Aslan, with God's timetable, all times are soon. And by God's grace, I will continue to hope and pray for a miracle for my beautiful wife and for anyone else I meet in need of a miracle!

© 2010 by Ken Peters


Laurence said...

I'm new to the leaving of comments on blogs, but I'm not new to Ken Peters.

The giant you face, and the giant I face are only similar in that they would raise themselves up greater than our God. Romans 1:21 shows the path none of us want to be on...

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."

God bless you, Ken, for longing to know God through this, and for refusing to let go of the God you already know him to be!

It is your humility that shines brightly through this new years message... and brings me to tears.

There is dynamic power there!

Because you are a Pastor, and there are those you lead. Each and everyone of them has a giant who would come out and mock them and our God...

(1 Samuel 17:22-24)

... and his name that we seek to be vindicated!

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

"BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT ... we will not serve your gods"

It is our obedience that glorifies God, and our heart of thankfulness that leads us into the light.

I don't have any other answer for you, Ken, but that God hasn't let me down, and won't let you down!

Look at what they lost! They're walking around free in the fire... and who is that comforter with them, that never left them nor forsook them?

Da 3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." 25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

May God be glorified, may you be set free, and may those in your care see what it is to rely on the God who longs to be known... and who reveals himself to the humble.

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...

Ephesians is a book written to a group of people... not just any ONE of us, but all of us... and it is in acts of humility that a pastor leads that "group" into unity, by seeking the head, which is Christ our Lord!

... and look!

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.

This is my longing, that God will come by his Holy Spirit, and enlighten our hearts...

"Eph 1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms..."

Ken said...

Hey Laurence. Good to hear from you. There's a lot to take encouragement from in what you've written. And all of it points to Jesus! Thanks for that.