"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

God's Limits

Do I believe Him or not? To believe or not to believe, that is the question!

Actually, I am finding that the question is not that simple. It just seems possible and probable that I genuinely believe Him AND not entirely believe Him at the very same time.

Yesterday I heard report of an answer to prayer. A sweet, sweet answer to prayer!

This dear one told me of a touch from the Father that was a direct answer to my prayers. I found myself crying, literally, while offering to God a prayer-"thanks offering" after our conversation. And then the question arouse in my head...

Did I believe God was going to do it? When I asked, had I ask in faith?

The answer is simple. Yes. AND, no.

Yes, I believed. I knew in my heart that God could, that God wanted to, and that He would. I believed it as I prayed it. And, yet, I was shocked and surprised somewhere deep within that He did. Really, Lord!?? "You did it!", my thanks offering said in prayer.

Even as I write it, I sound like the man in Mark 9 who states, "I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!" Or, like it, I am reminded of the story in Acts 12, where the believers praying for Peter's prison release. While in prayer, asking Father to release Peter, he shows up at the house (just having been miraculously freed from prison!). And, they don't believe he is there. They call the servant crazy when she reports that Peter is outside the prayer-filled house!

Faithful prayer. Belief in prayer. Shock and surprise when the answer comes. Is this a common experience as God grows our faith?

Andrew Murray says, "Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do."

Can I limit God? I believe Scripture clearly teaches me that my Father in heaven has unlimited powers. All heaven and earth belong to Him. He owns it all. He is limit-less. I know also that Scripture does point to times when God is limited by unbelief. He limits Himself in this way. He and His work among (and for) His people is Self-limited by their faith, or lack there of. I wonder when my faithless faith does limit God. When does He count the faith and when the unbelief!

But, more than that, I am struck by Murray's caution to fancy you know that God can do.

Don't I have to fancy His ability... or at least what I hope him to do, request him to do, expect him to do. Don't I need to this in order to have faith that He will do it? Doesn't that fancy and imagination begin all real genuine prayer? Didn't I have to imagine Him able and wanting to answer this prayer I asked for my friend? And, yet... He can do more than I ever ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20). So, maybe that is where my faith and my unbelief intersect. I can't believe what I can't imagine. I don't know.

To believe or not to believe, that is the question!

Increase my faith, dear Father. May I know You and believe You and trust You more and more! I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!
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