For a number of reasons I could not attend church until about three weeks after I was born again. By then I had read all four gospels and the Book of Acts in the New Testament. And when that Sunday morning arrived, I expected to see devils cast out and people being healed just like when Jesus and the apostles lived. On top of that I thought we would go home after church and pray all afternoon. I was really excited. I knew what God had done for me, and I could not wait to see him do the same for others.
But even though it is so clearly presented in the Bible, nothing like that happened at the church I attended that morning. I learned later that many Christians do not even believe that God performs miracles anymore. It’s difficult for me to reconcile that.
However God has never let my faith diminish. In fact my level of expectation has increased, and the more time I spend with him, the more the reality of God’s kingdom takes over in my heart and mind.
… I think that kind of faith needs to be explained.
The Bible describes faith as, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” and this leads me to conclude that faith is a gift from God. How else can belief in the impossible be explained? How else could faith be described as ‘the substance?’ It is because the Eternal, Almighty God is the God who makes something from nothing… and that is the basis of faith. It has nothing to do with how strong we are, but has everything to do with the fact that the Holy Spirit has the ability to speak to the heart, and literally create faith in God.
There are many religious, mystical and moral disciplines that seek to govern the heart and mind, all claiming to bring peace, healing and order to their follower’s lives. They all require a type of faith and adherence to principles, but ultimately depend on the strength of the individuals that practice them. Have you ever been there? I have.
But Jesus taught that by seeking God, even the most undisciplined of us can find healing, peace and order in life.
First, when Jesus came to earth he demonstrated absolute command over nature, over disease, over demonic powers, and even over death, to prove that the kingdom of God exists and rules supremely. Then, when he left the earth, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who is also called the Comforter, to “speak comfortably” to everyone that would decide to follow him.
Now the name Comforter, as it is used in the Bible, is perhaps the most beautiful word in all of the English language, because it describes the Holy Spirit’s unique ability to speak to the heart. Our tie to God is portrayed as a relationship of love, like a very tender marriage, and especially the prophet Hosea (Hosea 2:14-16) describes how God lovingly courts his ‘bride’, speaking “comfortably” or ‘to the heart’ of his people. And that literally means that the Holy Spirit tells us how much God loves us, and creates faith and love in our hearts and minds!
We all say that love is the greatest power in the universe, and we all know that we need more of it. We also know intuitively that love could solve every one of mankind’s individual and corporate problems. And when we say that, we are speaking truth and (whether we realize it or not) talking about the kingdom of God. But healing will never happen until we turn to God, because only the Comforter can create the love we need in our hearts.
So I ask you. Why would anyone refuse God’s offer of wholeness and conclude that faith in Jesus is foolish?
I honestly do not know.