Thursday, August 17, 2017

"SEEING" Faith

Sometimes people speak of having "blind faith", meaning that they step out into the  unknown, putting their trust in God.  Abraham may be one that is said to have had blind faith, leaving all that he and his family knew to go to a land that God would show him in time.  It is always difficult to move under any circumstances, but can you imagine just being told "OK, pack up, hitch up the donkeys and camels and start walking.  I'll tell you when you get there."  Yeah....me neither.

But there is another kind of faith, a faith I like to call "Seeing faith".  This kind of faith "sees" with eyes of faith, eyes that may see nothing visibly, yet they see past what is visible and trust God for what they cannot YET see.

George Mueller had that kind of faith.  He is definitely one of my heroes of the faith.

I read this in my STREAMS IN THE DESERT today about George:

"I went to America some years ago with the captain of a steamer, who was a very devoted Christian.  When off the coast of Newfoundland he said to me, "The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which revolutionized the whole of my Christian life.  We had George Mueller of Bristol on board. I had been on the bridge twenty four hours and never left it.  George came to me and said "Captain, I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec Saturday afternoon."  "It is impossible," I said.  "Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way.  I have never broken an engagement for 57 years.  Let us go down into the chart room and pray."  I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, 'what lunatic asylum can that man have come from?  I never heard of such a thing as this.'  "Mr. Mueller," I said, "do you know how dense this fog is?"  "No", he replied, "my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life."  He knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray.  "First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it."  I looked at him and he said "Captain I have known the Lord for 57 years and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King.  Get up, Captain and open the door and you will find the fog gone."  I got up and the fog was indeed gone.  On Saturday afternoon, George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement."

That, my Friends, is SEEING FAITH!!  Although Mueller had yet to see the fog lifted, he believed it so.

Now Mueller did not start out as a giant of the faith.  In fact, he actually had a rough start in life.   "As a young boy growing up in Germany in the early 1800s, he often stole money from his dad. As a teenager, he sneaked out of a hotel twice without paying for the room. One time he was caught by police and put in jail. As a Bible college student, George loved going to bars, drinking, gambling, and being the life of the party. He also loved making fun of people, especially Christians.

One day, a friend invited George to go to an off-campus Bible study. He went only because he wanted to make fun of the Christians later. But to his surprise, he liked the Bible study. For the first time, he saw people who really knew and loved God. He attended each evening. Before the end of the week, he knelt at his bed and asked God to forgive his sins.

George's friends saw a change in him immediately. He no longer went to bars or made fun of people. He spent more time reading his Bible, talking about God, and going to church. Soon he found that his friends did not want to be around him anymore.

When George told his father that he had decided to become a missionary, his father became very upset. He wanted George to have a high-paying job and not be a poor missionary. He told George that he would not give him any more money for school. George knew he had to do what God was calling him to do, even if his dad didn't support him.

George went back to college without knowing how he was going to pay his tuition. He did something he thought was a bit silly for a grown man to do. He got on his knees and asked God to provide. To his surprise, an hour later a professor knocked on his door. He offered George a paid tutoring job! George was amazed! This was the beginning of George Mueller's dependence on God.

George went on to become the pastor of a church in England.  Each day as George walked the streets, he saw children everywhere who had no mom or dad. They lived on the streets or in state-run poorhouses, where they were treated badly. George felt God calling him to open an orphanage to take care of the children.

George prayed, asking God to provide a building, people to oversee it, furniture, and money for food and clothing. God answered his prayers. The needs of the orphanage were met each day. Sometimes a wealthy person would send a large amount of money, or a child would give a small amount received as a gift or for doing chores. Many times food, supplies or money came at the last minute, but God always provided without George telling anyone about his needs. He just prayed and waited on God.
More than 10,000 children lived in the orphanage over the years. When each child became old enough to live on his own, George would pray with him and put a Bible in his right hand and a coin in his left. He explained to the young person that if he held onto what was in his right hand, God would always make sure there was something in his left hand as well."---Christianity.com

On one occasion, George was greeted by the caretaker of the orphanage and told that the children were dressed and ready for school, but there was no food for them.  George had her seat the 300 children at the table, bowed his head, and thanked God for the food.  Shortly after, there was a knock at the door.  A local baker told him that God had woke him up in the night and told him to bake bread for the orphanage.  He obeyed and he was there delivering bread to the orphans.  Not long after he left, there was another knock at the door.  It was a milkman whose wagon had broken down out front.  He knew the milk he was carrying would spoil before he could get the wagon fixed so asked if the orphanage could use the milk.  Just enough for the 300 children!  

James warned us about being doubters, "But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind."  James 1: 6.  


Now I don't want to think of myself as a doubter. I don't doubt that God CAN, I just sometimes am not sure if God wants to or not.  What is His plan?  Had I been George on that ship, I'd have probably thought "Maybe God doesn't want me to get to Quebec.  Maybe He has another plan."  Maybe I overthink things too much.  Maybe I need to just learn to pray BELIEVING and wait to see what God does.  Isn't that what childlike faith is?  George didn't overthink the situation.  He needed to get to Quebec.  He prayed a simple prayer, trusted God to answer and expected to open the door and the fog would be gone.
 

Maybe it's time for us to have a little more SEEING faith, instead of WONDERING faith
!!






Sunday, August 6, 2017

IT BLOOMED!!

One June 24 I posted on this blog a story about a rose bush I transplanted from my Mother's house.  It had appeared that it was never going to make it, then one day, miraculously, leaves began to sprout and soon it was a healthy, plant with multiple leaves, green and growing.

Today I am happy to share with you IT BLOOMED!!!



I had been watching it almost daily to see if it would put out a bud.  And then I saw it, a tiny white bud nestled beneath the top leaves.  What a joy it was to watch it as each day it opened a little more.  That which I had prayed for was finally becoming a reality.

I think too often we give up on God coming through for us.  We live in a day of "instant everything"....instant messaging, instant coffee, express pay, express check out, etc.  We want answers from God in the same way...instantly.  But God does not work that way, at least not most of the time.

Isaiah 30:18 says "Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious to you and therefore will HE be exalted, that He will have mercy upon you....blessed are they who wait on Him."

Notice that He desires to be gracious to us.  I confess, when I am waiting on His answers, it doesn't feel very gracious.  But notice too, that it is not about us.  It is about HIM being exalted.  Just like waiting on the rose to sprout and bloom.  In the waiting, it forced me to keep calling on Him again and again, drawing me back to Him.  My efforts of watering and fertilizing were OK, but I knew that if this rose was going to survive and bloom again it would be strictly up to Him.  In the end, He brought this tender rose to life and blessed me just as the verse above says.

David prayed diligently to the Lord and sometimes he got weary of God's delays or slow responses to his pleas.  Psalm 83:1 says "God, do not keep silent.  Do not be deaf, God.  Do not be idle."  I  sometimes feel that way, too, don't you?  Psalm 109:1 "God of my praise, do not be silent."

But Jeremiah 29:12 reminds us that God DOES listen to our prayers, "You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you."

In Luke Chapter 1 we learn that Zechariah and Elizabeth were up in years and yet still had no children.  But when the angel of the Lord appears to Zechariah to tell him he is about to become a father, he says "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard."  Now it doesn't tell us how long he had been praying, but one can surmise that it had been YEARS since they were old and still had no children.  But evidently Zechariah had continued to pray, not giving up hope.  And, God heard his prayer, and in HIS TIME....he answered it and John was born.

There are many instances in the Bible where individuals had to wait a long time for God to act or to answer a specific prayer.  But the emphasis should not be on the length of time, but on the fact that God DOES answer prayer!  He IS working even when we cannot SEE Him working.  He is orchestrating details, moving in people's lives through circumstances, through people, through many different things until everything falls into place that sets the stage for God to bring it all to fruition and for HIS ULTIMATE GLORY!

So when I begin to get discouraged that God is taking too long answering my requests, I hope I will look no further than the beautiful white rose blooming in my garden to remember His faithfulness and His goodness to answer when I call.