1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
This is one of those strong statements in the Bible that, when taken wrongly, have caused some people to discard their faith when things didn’t go as they expected. That certainly applies to the story behind the current movie, Silence. The original author, Shusaku Endo, felt that God was silent in the face of Christians’ suffering because He didn’t answer their cries by rescuing them. After all, how could rescuing His children from suffering not be His will? However, that ignores the reality that even Jesus suffered horribly and died, so the question of God’s will is a deep one indeed. Our faith needs to be in Him and in what He has already done for us, not in what we think He is going to do for us. 25 years ago I had a very promising young man leave the church because his father wasn’t cured of cancer, but died. He overlooked the fact that his father lived over three years past his diagnosis, when the doctors had given him six months. God had given the young man over two years of opportunity to lead his father to faith, but he didn’t use that time for that purpose, and he decided it was all a lie when his father died. That was the greater tragedy. We have a stubborn tendency to decide what must be God’s will, and then when things don’t turn out that way we blame God. How foolish! Job had the right idea: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (Job 13:15)
I am in the middle of just such a test of my faith. Last night the owner of the land next door called to say that he is deciding to sell the land to the developer and not to us, giving up on trying to jump through the legal hoops required. That was a gut-punch indeed for me, and I haven’t had much sleep as a result. My wife sent out an immediate prayer request by email, and it is interesting that one of the most encouraging of the early responses was from someone I would not have expected it from. He said, “It’s not over ’till it’s over.” That said, I am certainly to the point of having to release my dream of an assisted living facility next door to the Lord completely. Even at this point nothing is impossible for Him, but I cannot imagine how He might bring it to pass (certainly not as I had envisioned it). I’ve got to keep my faith focused on Him rather than what I want Him to do for or concerning me. It is interesting that when I was investigating all the legal hurdles to establishing an assisted living facility I was just about ready to give up the idea then. (The problem right now is a matter of zoning, rather than regulations.) I was well aware that I don’t have the administrative gifts to handle running such a facility, particularly on top of the church, but my expectation was that either I would be grown in that area or, more probably, the Lord would bring others into the picture who were appropriately gifted. If by some miracle He still brings it to pass, I’m sure that will happen, but in the mean time, I’ve got to release it all into His hands and rest, relax, and rejoice in Him.
Father, thank You for this too. Thank You that my cold is much better. Thank You that You can be trusted, not only with my life and my health but with this church and with my legacy as well. Thank You for pointing out to me that legacy was one of the things that was making me count on this so strongly. Forgive my foolishness! May Your name alone be hallowed and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, right here, in every situation, as perfectly as it is in heaven. Thank You. Hallelujah!