Have you ever felt like the Lord gave you a promise for a loved one, perhaps years ago, but now that person is not walking with the Lord? Have you ever wondered if you should continue to pray or give up hope?
For example:A mom had wonderful things prophesied over her son when he was still young. But now the boy is a man in his twenties, and living like the world, not wanting anything to do with the God of his mother, and of his youth.
Yet she felt the Lord told her certain things in her heart about the call and purpose of his life - what does she do? Where does 'according to your faith be it unto you', enter this situation?
Every person faces circumstances contrary to their faith. Unexplained things. A child that gets deathly sick, a cancer that quickly takes a loved one. A tragic accident involving Christian teens. A job they thought God gave them and a few months later the company goes out of business.
Any number of things are allowed to happen by the Lord that we love so much, without any explanation from Him. What are we to do? How do we 'stand on the Word' when everything seems to have gone the opposite direction?
II Kings 4:8-37; the story of a woman who showed kindness to Elisha.
He passed by she and her husband's house regularly, and she showed him hospitality. Eventually they added a room to their house that he might spend the night as needed.
Elisha wanted to do something for her, and his servant, Gehazi mentioned they had no children. Elisha told her that 'next year according to the time of life you will embrace a son'. She told him at the time not to tease her, that he had better be right. Verses 16 & 17 tell us she did conceive and gave birth to a son as Elisha had prophesied.
Verse 18 tells us when the boy was grown, he was working in the field with his dad, and evidently became overheated, complaining of pain in his head. He died a few hours later. We need to remember the word of promise that Elisha had given her in v16, and that many years went by for the son to be 'grown' and working in the field with his father.
The power of the promise has not diminished over the years
Verses 22-28 tell us she laid the young man's body on the bed in Elisha's room, then only telling her husband "It is well", she saddled a donkey and raced to find Elisha. When she found him she said:"Did I ask you for a son? Didn't I say don't deceive me? Didn't I say don't tease me?"
In other words, she never asked for a son, she never asked for a promise from the Lord about him. Did God give her a word about having a son only to take him a few years later? She was rightly upset! The good news is Elisha raised him from the dead.
For our purposes we take the side of the mother of this young boy. She wasn't trying to get pregnant. When the man of God asked if God could do anything for her, she said she was fine. It was God's idea to have Elisha prophesy she would have a son. Now circumstances conspired to take her son of promise away.
What would you do?
According to your faith be it unto you. Would you say, "I don't understand it, but my son is dead. I guess that prophecy was just for the few short years we had him." Or would you do as she did, thinking that God would not have given the word to her had He not intended that baby to grow up to become a man and outlive his parents - and she was going to make sure that word came to fulfillment in her son's life!
Do you have promises closely held in your heart about a loved one? Does it look like those promises aren't happening in their lives? Do you ever wonder how the Lord will bring about what He promised to you?
Are you going to shrink back and say, 'Oh well, maybe I heard wrong'? Or will you be like the woman above who held onto the original promise and stand firm in the knowledge that the Lord will bring it to pass? Even if that loved one has to go through many sins before they give up and give in to the Lord, His promise will happen.
Jairus and his daughter
In Mark 5:23 the man Jairus came to Jesus saying:"My little daughter lies at the point of death, I beg you to come and lay your hands on her that she may be healed, and live."
That was the point of faith - if Jesus came to lay hands on her then she would live. As they were walking to his home a friend came and told Jairus that his daughter had died, so there was no use bothering Jesus about it. In v36 it says:
"Immediately when Jesus heard the news, He said to (Jairus), 'Be not afraid. Only believe."
What was Jesus telling Jairus to believe? It was the original point of faith:If you come and lay hands on her she will live. Once Jesus agreed to come to lay hands on his daughter, it really didn't matter whether the girl was alive or dead, with fever or dead, because Jesus said He would come and lay hands on her and she would live.
When Jesus told him:"Don't be afraid. Only believe", He was telling him to believe the original request - come lay hands on her and she will live. Sometimes we have to go back to the last time we knew that we knew the Lord had given us a word for someone or some situation, and rest in that word - even if it was given years ago.
It was the same with Lazarus in John 11. Once Jesus had determined He would visit Lazarus, it really didn't matter if Lazarus remained sick or was dead. Jesus is greater than any circumstance, so it didn't matter whether he had already been dead 4 days once he got there, or 4 minutes.
Go back to the last thing you know the Lord showed you, revealed to your spirit. Go back to that last promise you know that you know He gave you - and rest. He gave that word seeing the future, and yet He still gave it.
Let us recognize much of life is 'according to your faith be it unto you'. When faced with surprises in our life we can either expect to see 'all things that pertain to life and godliness' supplied, or we can bow to the circumstances. Whatever happens will be according to your faith. Let us choose faith over fear, the promise over the circumstance.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,