December 18, 2018
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, NIV 1984).
He had a Santa Claus beard but little hair on top. I told him, “You know, you are one of the few over 60 who has been cured of their acute leukemia.”
“Yes, I know,” he said.
“I hope you are telling folks how God has blessed you.”
“I am,” he said. “One thing I tell folks a lot is about the day my wife came in one early morning and saw the sunrise coming into the hospital. I had been having an uncontrolled fever for 10 days. She looked at the sun and prayed to God, ‘Dear God, burn it out.’ That morning after she left, I felt a deep burning inside. I fell off to sleep, harder than I had been sleeping in a long time. About 10:30 I woke up, and I was hungry, and my fever was gone and never returned.”
Jesus told us, “…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, NIV 1984).
I honestly don’t know what this means. The truth of Jesus’ statement must be deeper than its superficial meaning, or His words are only intermittently consistent with our experience in life. I know this woman’s prayers were answered, and I know that prayers of mine have been answered miraculously, but sometimes they were not. I have spoken to many widows who prayed, with deep faith, that God would save the lives of their husbands; and still, they are widows. What goes with Jesus’ declaration here?
Though God’s truth is greater than our experience, I don’t believe His truth of life is completely divorced from our experience, as some religions might suggest. God’s truth must be deeper than our understanding of these words Jesus spoke.
Some things I know Jesus is saying are:
- “You can trust me.”
- “Your faith and your tears do change the way I act in this world.”
- “Sometimes you will see miracles. Sometimes because of your faith you will see me work in such magnificent ways that you will fall down in amazement and gratitude.”
- “Sometimes you will not. Trust me still.”
- “My great story is more important than your personal story. Trust me.”
- “My great story is grounded in a love for you that is expansive enough for me to die for you.”
- “Pray with all of your heart. Pray believing. Pray as I prayed in Gethsemane, ‘Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’” (Mark 14:36, NIV 1984).
Each of these truths is woven within this one statement of Jesus. None of them conflict with my experience or with God’s truth spoken elsewhere in the Scripture. I can bet my life on them, like I could not if I took Jesus’ message superficially and believed that everything I asked for in faith would be mine.
Having said all of this, I know it is possible that I am wrong, that Jesus’ words mean exactly what they say, that I only see it occasionally because my faith is too weak.
Strengthen my faith. Let your story be accomplished rather than mine.