Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Your Faith Big Enough?

                This morning as I was working on our study in Acts 27, I came across something that stuck out to me, and felt that the Lord wants me to share it with you all today.  Acts 27 is the part of scripture where Paul, Luke and Aristarchus are aboard a ship bound for Rome. In the midst of their travels, they come upon numerous storms. Wave after wave pound against the ship, causing it to break apart; the men and the crew aboard fear for the lives of all, so much so that some of them try to abandon the rest of them. But in the midst of all these storms, there is a peace within Paul that can
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only be attributed to God. Paul tells the men that he has heard from God and that all the men aboard this ship will be saved. But then, something strikes me. Something I had never seen before jumped right off the pages of my bible into my heart. The Lord showed me that sometimes, my faith needs to be big enough for everyone else.
                Paul stands up in the ship and tells the men and crew not to fear. He tells them that God has come to him and told him that they will all be saved. Paul tells them that if they will just follow his example, if they will just heed him now, then all the lives aboard the ship will be saved and they will all live through this. God was growing Paul’s faith for their sakes. God was using the faith that Paul had in Jesus Christ to save the men aboard the ship.
                “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:22-26
                Ultimately, it was God who rescued and saved the individual lives of those aboard this ship. But, I think Paul’s faith was what God used to bring them all safely to land. I am not saying that Paul saved them, but God, working through Paul’s faith was able to reach out to all the men aboard that ship. Our faith cannot save anyone, but God, working through us can and will save. But, our faith has to be big enough.
                In Matthew 15:28 Jesus heals a daughter at the request of her mother. It was not the daughter’s faith that allowed Jesus to heal her, but the faith of the mother who came to Jesus and asked Him to heal her sick child. “Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Think about all the people who came to Jesus on behalf of another. The Centurion who came to Jesus for the sake of his sick servant (Matthew 8:5), Martha and Mary who came to Jesus for Lazarus, and not to mention those that carried their sick to Him, those that implored Him daily to heal their loved ones. It was the faith of those who believed in Jesus that made these miracles possible.
     It was not the faith of the men aboard that ship that saved them; it was the faith of Paul, in God, that carried these men to safety. How big is our faith? Do we believe the promises of God on behalf of others? This got me to thinking about all those times in my marriage that God allowed my faith to be big enough for my unbelieving family. All of the times that my husband doubted, worried and feared over our finances, our lack of food, our lack of being able to pay the bills. But God grew my faith for his sake and the sake of our family.
                He put me on my knees daily before Him, trusting and believing in His promises, even when no one else would. He put the prayers on my heart and He brought us through it all, with blessings and abundance too wonderful to describe. It wasn’t me, personally, that caused these things to take place. It was God working through my faith to bring it to pass. Just like He did for Paul and all those aboard that ship that day. He used the faith of Paul to carry these men to the safety He had waiting for them. Paul was the one praying, Paul was the one praising and asking God for salvation- not these men and crew members. It was the faith of Paul that enabled God to work in the lives of every single soul aboard that ship.
                Do we believe in God’s promises for the sake of others? Do we allow God to use our faith as a tool to work in the lives of those who need saved? Do we come before God with hopeful expectation in His promises or do we come already thinking we know the outcome of our requests? Faith believes God, no exceptions. We cannot say we have faith in God, but not in His promises. It was the faith of the mothers, the faith of the fathers, the faith of the Centurion, the sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, that allowed Jesus the opportunity to heal those that were in need. It was the faith of one woman that allowed her daughter to be healed. It was the faith of one soldier that allowed Jesus to heal his sick servant. It was their faith that was big enough for God to move through. How big is your faith?
                When we come before God in our prayers for one another, is our faith big enough for them? I am not saying that because we have faith God will do what we ask, because ultimately God will always do what is in His will to do. But, if we have not faith for our brothers and sisters, for our unsaved loved ones, for those who need Him, then how can we have faith at all? We must come to God in faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) God wants to grow our faith so that He can move within it and without it for the sake of those who need Him. It was not Paul who saved these men, but God working through Paul’s faith that saved them all.

                These men were most likely Gentiles, worshipers of pagan gods, and followers of idols. But God still saved them. Why-because Paul’s faith was big enough for them all. It was through his prayers, his hopes, his expectations of God’s fulfilled promises that these men were saved. The same is true for all those who came to Jesus for the sake of someone else. They had faith big enough for them all. It was through their faith that Jesus was able to work the miracles only He could perform. Is our faith big enough? What did Jesus tell that woman in Matthew 15:28? He said “O woman, great is your faith!” He saw that her faith was big enough, she had great faith, and that is what allowed Him to heal her daughter. It was her faith that brought life back into her family; it was Paul’s faith that saved the lives aboard that ship. It is our faith that sometimes needs to be big enough. So I ask you, is your faith big enough?