Posts Tagged ‘Doubts’

Matthew 16:8-12 – ENLARGING MY FAITH

WHEN FAITH IS ENLARGED - Photo by Ross Cochrane with FX

WHEN FAITH IS ENLARGED – Photo by Ross Cochrane with FX

What if we could run with immunity, childlike in the midst of such awesome power, between the huge stuttering shocks roaring challenges that need to be heeded; the intense glimpses of cityscape; the jagged shards of light slicing the sky. What if we could dance with defiance to the frantic rhythm of drum crescendos on the rooves and driveways, sing to the sweeping chorus of wind and play with innocent abandon in the rushing waters and the rain. What if we with faith unyielding on the sea could slip over the barriers of dread and walk where others fear to tread.

(by Ross Cochrane).

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) says “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

It intrigues me that Jesus commends a Gentile woman for her “great faith” in Matthew 15:28 but of His own disciples He remarks “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH” in the very next chapter (Matthew 16:8). Not good for self-esteem! Jesus calls it like it is, but doesn’t leave me there.

1. WHEN I LACK THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE Jesus says “… if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. WHY DO YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH?” (Matthew 6:30 NLT). When I have seen Him feed the 5000 and then find that I am lacking provision Jesus knows my thoughts and says “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread?” (Matthew 16:8).

2. WHEN I FACE STORMS and the horizon seems suddenly ravenous and growls out a thunderous warning from it’s billowing clouds; when the storm appears on the horizon as a snarling, rabid dog, hungry to fight, it’s nostrils flared as it lunges and bites; when the devil is in the storm and he is already reaching back with his whip ready to lunge at me again and sink the boat; when I look to Jesus but He is asleep, peaceful and undisturbed! (Can’t He at least tarry with me until the storm overtakes me?) In the midst of the storm, that’s when my frantic cries wake Him, and He is positively puzzled as He looks up at my face. He says, “Why are you afraid? YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH!” As if it is up to me!

He hardly notices the wave that is about to swamp us coming up from behind Him … but the sky seemed to gasp as He turns and I hear a sudden guttural roar; the sound of a lion recoiling from a spear; astonished as it penetrates it’s heart. The blood begins to drain from my face as I see for a moment the assurance of Jesus gaze and then the stern censure of His voice as He rebukes the wind and waves, …

… and suddenly all is calm. A chill runs up and down my spine. I am astonished. “Who is this man? Even the winds and waves obey Him!” And that’s when my faith is enlarged.

3. IN THE MIDDLE OF MY DOUBTS AND PRESUMPTIONS (Mt. 14:31); when faith is flickering but I feel the breath of Jesus blowing on the embers; when Jesus is not asleep in the boat but walking on the storm and about to pass me by, that’s when, like Peter, I blurt out “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.” And in a moment of worship, split from time, fear of the storm recedes, and I stand in awe of God’s presence. It’s a question of “Where is the safest place to be. In the boat or with Jesus.” That’s when my faith grows.

“Yes, come,” Jesus says. So I step into the unknown, over the side of the boat and walk on the water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29). At first there is a mixture of doubt and impulsive presumption, but doubt transformed into faith allows me to accomplish the impossible. Impulsive presumption transformed into trust allowed me to be a part of the miracle. I am no longer frantically rowing in circles in the midst of an unresolved storm. “Yes, come”, He says and although it involves a miracle, He gives me the power I need to step out in faith (Matthew 14:29).

That’s when I realise that I am walking on a storm and once again I hear the whistling wind and falter on the waves; I am terrified and begin to sink. “Save me, Lord!” I shout. “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH,” He says as He takes my hand. “Why did you doubt Me?” In the aftermath of the storm, as I walk with Him through a wondrous array of wildflowers, He reminds me that when I trust more, I sink less, and that’s when my faith is enlarged.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 14:34-36 – THE FREEDOM FIGHTER

If I Could Touch the Hem of His Garment – Photo by Ross Cochrane

She is in bed most of the time now, unable to do the most basic of things. 96 years old ANGIE (not her real name) was once a FREEDOM FIGHTER in Czechoslovakia. Her speech is slow but her conversation reveals her intelligence and she surprises me with the laughter in her eyes and her faith in God. She has learned to use the computer, send e-mails, play music etc, but muscular degeneration means her fingers don’t work as well now. She struggles now just to lift her hands a few inches and there is pain. She cannot feed herself or hold a cup in her hands. I pray for healing for this faith-filled freedom fighter.

After they cross the lake, Jesus and His disciples land at Gennesaret (Matthew 14:34). Jesus has had contact with those from this region before and soon people are “bringing all their sick to be healed” (Matthew 14:35). They come expecting miracles to the One they recognise could and would heal them. They beg Him to let the sick touch “at least the fringe of His robe”, and ALL who touch Him are healed (Matthew 14:36).

Imagine if it was Angie that day in Gennesaret being brought up through the crowd behind Jesus and touching the fringe of His robe. Imagine Jesus turning around, seeing her there and saying, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.”

MIRACLES OF HEALING are not impossibilities conceived in the hearts of people who are fools, as Ingersoll, the faith terrorist, once suggested. They are not unthinkable to the thinking person who is open to the possibility of truth beyond the senses; to a system of perception called faith.

Certainty in God’s promises, not ignorance, is the soil in which belief in miracles grows, and if we are honest we do not pretend to think we know the boundaries of possibilities in this world. If we are truthful and sincere we will admit our doubts and spiritual ignorance and say, “Lord, help my unbelief” rather than being content to say “It cannot happen!”

A FREEDOM FIGHTER is dedicated to opposing an invader seeking to enforce compliance and subservience upon us. Afterall, why should we worship our DOUBTS? Why should we prostrate ourselves before the mirror of our own LIMITATIONS and not before the One in whom ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE? Why should we kneel before medical science as our SAVIOUR rather than as our SERVANT, and preach a gospel of rational redemption when the hope of medical miracles won’t change the human heart or forgive human sin? Why should we not fight for the right to look beyond what doctors do, as wonderful as that is, to find the wholeness we need?

In Matthew 21:21-22 (NLT) Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NLT) clarifies this further by saying “And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for ANYTHING THAT PLEASES HIM. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”

Angie, the FREEDOM FIGHTER, appreciates what it is like to be healthy and articulates to God her desire to be well. The possibility of being free from sickness brings her humbly before God, like those from Genessaret, ready to touch even the fringe of His robe to find relief. And it gives me an invitation to fight the battle alongside her as I pray for this wounded warrior to receive the healing grace of God.

Praying for Angie – Photo by Ross Cochrane

Pastor Ross

P.S. Angie died last week. She slipped away into the presence of the Lord. She knew she was loved and she confided in me that she was ready to go home. I hugged her gently and said my goodbyes but before I returned from holidays she was gone. My brave warrior. I will miss her intelligence, her beautiful eyes, her love for God and her friendship with me. Were our prayers answered? Of course.

 

 

P.S. to my last P.S. It has now been some years since Angie died. I recently found Angie’s e-mail address on my computer, although it doesn’t exist anymore. I found myself crying and realised that my grief for her loss still ran deep. So I wrote her an email.

Dearest Angie,

I came across your old e-mail address today and although I know this will just go out into cyberspace somewhere and perhaps return, I thought I would write anyway.

It seems so long ago that you passed this way but I still remember you. You died when I was away on holidays and no one told me. I missed attending your funeral. I am so sorry about that, but I remember our friendship, the many conversations and prayers and your beautiful smile. I remember how you told me you were part of the resistance during the war. I remember you telling me about your accidental meeting with the Pope while you were on holidays in Italy. Even though you were a Protestant they put you in the line to meet the Pope at the Vatican.

I remember when you were able to send emails and use your computer. I remember quiet talks when tears would fall at your frustration about not being able to move your hands and we would laugh at life as well. Motor Neuron Disease took your physical abilities but not your keen mind and sense of humour.

It was a pleasure to be your Chaplain, but most of all I miss you being around as my friend. I miss you. I prayed for your healing but God chose to heal you in a place where there are no more tears or pain. One day, when I no longer shed tears or feel the pain of the loss of a good friend, I will see you again.

God bless