He sat next to me in the examining room. His had been a difficult case, not only because of his disease, but also because of his non-compliance. He was doing remarkably better than I had expected. There had been a change in his attitude and a concomitant improvement in his health. “I lay it all up to God,” he said. “I’ve got faith that He’s going to get it done.” Then he added, “If you don’t have no faith in God, whatever He wants to do for you, won’t work for you.”
“That’s what faith can do…” runs the chorus of a popular Christian song. I’ve never quite appreciated this song. I hear so often from my patients who are diagnosed with cancer, “If I just have enough faith, God will heal me.” To me, that seems like worshipping the saw rather than the Carpenter; it’s using a religious method as magic to produce a desired result rather than beseeching the God whose loving will has the power to make all things work out. It’s like making God the light bulb where I’ve got control of the switch called “faith.” So goes my prejudice.
Even so, I know that this is an incomplete understanding of God’s great desire for us.
Our historical redemption journey began with Abraham’s faith in God’s leading. Our own personal redemption story begins with the cross, followed by our response of faith. The peace for our personal journey through difficult lives rests upon our faith that God loves us and knows what He is doing. Jesus Himself said, “…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move…” (Matthew 17:20-21, NIV 1984).
Certainly, Jesus did not say “Whether God wills it or not, you can rev up your faith and move mountains around.” God never mentions faith as a personal tool to accomplish our personal wills. But somehow, our faith in God’s person and God’s leading and God’s result is important to Him---which makes my patient’s statement, “If you don’t have faith in God, whatever He wants to do for you, won’t work for you,” is somehow a profound truth.
Let me trust you in all things