Last night, after making the decision to go ahead with what God is telling me, I had a wrestling match with my willingness. Satan distracted me with his fiery darts and between trying to put out the fire and arguing with God, I didn’t sleep very well.
Ironic that today’s devotional is entitled, ‘If thou wouldest believe.’ It comes from this verse uttered to Martha, Lazarus’ sister, just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead:
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
Martha was not alone. Raising the dead was not a common experience. On another occasion, a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus implored Jesus to come to his home and heal his dying daughter . . .
“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”He took Peter, James and John to Jairus’ house and saw the mourners. He said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.”They laughed at him, but he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief . . . . (Mark 5:35–6:6)
This is a rebuke to both my reluctance and the trouble I’m having believing that God could/would ask me to do something far larger than I feel capable of doing. Maybe the real question is: how badly do I want to see the glory of God? I pray for it, sing songs like, “I want to see Jesus” yet I waffle and wrestle.
If Martha had simply believed she would have seen the glory of God in her brother’s sickness and death, as well as in his resurrection. If I trusted him in all things, as I say I do, I should see his glory in all things.
Faith sees the glory of God in the gospel, His wisdom, justice, mercy, righteousness and grace in saving sinners by the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus. Faith sees the glory of God in providence, in all that he does, (creation, redemption, providence and salvation) and in the resurrection.
Yet as today’s devotional says, the Lord’s reproof is this: if I did believe I should see the glory of God working in my life. John Trapp writes, “Unbelief is so vile and venomous an evil that it transfuseth a kind of dead palsy into the hands of omnipotency.” For me, this makes my failure to trust God with what I cannot see a very foolish choice.
Jesus, You can do all things because of Your omnipotent power. In this incident with Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter, You raised the dead despite their doubts, perhaps because that doubt was like mine. I believe in You as my Savior, but this particular thing is beyond me. I’m thinking “Your strength in my weakness” is beyond You because my focus is on me instead of You.
In contrast, You do no mighty work in the lives of those who are offended by You and do not believe You at all. You are able, but they are denying Your power completely.
I don’t know what to say. The “Who, me?” part of my excuses and reasoning goes unanswered because You want me to trust You, not worrying about my limitations. I believe; help my unbelief!