When I pray, I’m aware that sometimes faith for the answers is there and sometimes it is not. I’m also aware that faith is a gift — given as I hear the Word of God . . .
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
In this verse, the Greek term translated ‘word’ is ‘rhema’ — a special term different from ‘logos’ which is usually translated ‘word.’ Logos is the revelation of God through Scripture and Jesus Christ. Rhema is the voice of the Lord speaking personally, that still small voice that addresses the need of the moment.
When Luther said, “We have everything we need, except the faith to believe it” he must have understood how important God’s personal revelation is in relation to faith. How can I believe in and trust a God if I know nothing about Him? Hearing Him speak is vital, particularly in prayer . . .
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Believing He exists is a challenge for many who have been taught otherwise, or who look for ‘proof’ in things that can be seen. Faith becomes possible by looking at and listening to Jesus. He said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” All my questions and doubts fade away when I keep my eyes and thoughts on Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God.
Hearing Him is important too. He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
In this verse, ‘word’ is again ‘rhema’ which implies that reading the Bible is not necessarily going to produce faith. There are scholars who have memorized great portions of it yet still do not have faith. It is hearing the voice of God through the Holy Spirit speaking right into our minds, usually as we read the Bible. However the Spirit can do it through other people or circumstances. I was saved when reading a verse of Scripture in a book about reincarnation (not a biblical teaching)! This personal ‘rhema’ gives God’s life to those who receive it.
The other part of faith is believing that God rewards those who seek Him. The major reward is of course forgiveness and eternal life, yet my search began by looking for a better life. For some, seeking God starts with a deep desire for him to heal, or to help is a dire situation.
God knows the heart and how far those seekers will go in the journey of faith. Consider Jesus and the many people He encountered. Some sought healing and were healed but did not even thank Him. Others trusted Him so much that they knew all He had to do was say the word and healing would happen. Jesus praised these seekers for their deep faith.
When I pray and wonder if God hears me or will reward me for seeking Him, I need to remember and think about Jesus. He existed. Even the most disbelieving historians do not doubt that.
As for rewarding my seeking, I also need to remember that the only people Jesus said ‘no’ to were those who came in skepticism looking for signs to prove that He was who He claimed to be. Everyone else was given exactly what they asked for. Jesus gives definite proof that God rewards those who seek Him.