Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Great Paradox

"When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed." Acts 12:16

Ah yes, the emotional paradox of believing and doubting in prayer. The church was praying for Peter's release, yet were amazed when the answer came. The doubting in this passage is not that God can, but God will. I love the truth that nothing weak in me can weaken God. My doubt that God may answer my request doesn't change God's answer. God can handle my doubt. No power can hold what God wants to release.

In Acts 12:7 it says, "the chains fell off his wrists." Peter was in prison up until the night before his trial (vs.6), but Peter wasn't really held there by Herod, but by God. There was a purpose for the "night before" intervention. God likes to take us to the edge. He's teaching us to keep praying in the face of heavens silence. The fact that Peter was SLEEPING!!! (vs.6) clearly shows Peter's trust and peace in the Lord, but what about those praying? We can't quit too soon, thinking nothing can be done now, it's the last hour. God is encouraging us to pray until the last night...the last moment.

Praying trains us in dependency, right to the edge, and that's where God wants us, with no other help or explaination in sight.

"Now I know without a doubt that the Lord...rescued me..." (vs 11 NIV).

Another verse I read this morning dealt with this too. "Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed." (Acts 14:9) Not only did this crippled man believe God could, but He would. Beautiful example of trust in God. Wonder what God sees when He looks straight at me and sees my faith?

James 1:6 says, "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." The word 'doubt' in this passage is doubting that God can. I have to believe that nothing is impossible with God, and pray believing, yet leave the answer to Him. If God doesn't answer the way I prayed, it is never because He can't, but because He has a different purpose. Praying doesn't guarantee my will, but when I pray, the cause of God will go forward. It's when I get to the point of not wanting more to move God with my prayer, but be satisfied in reaching God and resting in His results, that my prayer becomes an act of faith.

I also just want to mention a couple of other verses quickly.

"...if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it." Acts 13:15 What a blessing that verse is to me, as I was just asked to speak at a Christmas Ladies event. The Lord graciously put my speaking "on hold" over the last 8 months in caring for dad, and the timing of this invitation couldn't be better. This confirmation this morning is such a blessing.

Finally..."We are merely human beings - just like you!" (Acts 14:15) How easy it is to get caught up in following the man and not the message and the Messiah. I have to remember those who speak and teach well and get right to my heart, are just delivering God's Word, not the Deliverer. It's the Holy Spirit probing my heart, not the person speaking, writing etc... A good reminder to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and follow Him alone.

post signature

1 comment:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

"if you have any word of encouragement... come and give it!" How do I love that Scripture, friend?! Wow, going to wear this one today...

Wish I could be there to hear you preach it! At my mom's today decorating her trees for Christmas. Was thrilled to talk and pray with you last evening; a little bit ago, I revisited my posts about our time at She Speaks, filled with gratitude in my heart for the friendship we share.

Love you sister. It's another blustery day here, but my heart is warmed with thought so you.