When was the last time you asked something of God so bold that you gave your request little to no chance of getting exactly the answer you want? My friend Dan, diagnosed with ALS nearly a year ago, is dealing with the more aggressive form of this disease. With no known cure for ALS, I’ve asked the LORD to be close to Dan as he handles each new challenge he faces. Why wouldn’t I ask God, the omnipotent King of the universe, to bring complete healing and restoration to Dan? Why wouldn’t I ask Him to transform Dan into a walking, talking miracle and do for Dan what medical history has never recorded, a complete recovery from this incurable disease? Why wouldn’t I ask and believe with all my heart that it will come to pass?
“You of little faith,” says the LORD. There it is. Just as He instructed His apostles and disciples, so He reminds me. If I had the faith even the size of a tiny mustard seed, I could tell that mountain to move and away it would go.
Why don’t we ask for miracles? Here are a few possible reasons why:
- We have a faith problem-Our LORD hit the nail on the head. We find ourselves reasoning: “God did those things in Bible stories, sure, but that was then, and this is now.” If you don’t believe that miracles happen each and every day, you’re paying too much attention to the world and too little to the One Who can do anything in any way at any time.
- We assume to know God’s will-We pray and say obediently, “Your will be done.” We choose to overlook specific instructions and encouragement from God’s Word when we pray: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16b)
- We don’t want to spend all our grace in one place-We must have a limited amount of favors that God is willing to grant us, right? If that’s the case, we’d better be budgeting and have some in reserve. Otherwise we have nothing left when there are critical needs on which we ought to be spending our divine currency. “Oh, don’t pray for me on this little thing,” we might say. “Pray for people who really need it.” We can see the gap between our own limited notion of God and Who God really is, yet we keep it “in the ballpark” rather than swinging for the fences by asking for and expecting the miracle.
- This could take away from someone else’s fervent prayer and request-It’s as if God has a limited inventory of requests to grant (Think Aladdin and the genie.) and if all of mine are granted, there are fewer blessings left for others. This completely ignores that God’s very nature is infinite.
I need to remind myself (and perhaps you do, too) that God always keeps promises. As a friend said recently, “God is rarely early and never late.” In other words, God knows exactly what we need, when we need it and in what shape or form we need it. Spending time and prayer questioning and doubting those promises is wasting God’s promises and doubting the Word, both bad habits that have no room in the faith of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
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John Carroll is a strategist and growth consultant based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He is a board member of LifeWorks Charleston and the founding board chair of Camp Rise Above. You can find him online at www.JohnCarroll.com, via e-mail at John@JohnCarroll.com and by voice and text at 843-224-8815.