Our confidence is correctly placed in God. He is not daunted by our requests, or our belief in him. He really can make, do or fix anything!
“Truly I tell you, anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
Having tossed and turned most of the night, mulling over an unsettling situation that had been troubling me for weeks, I woke up with the all too familiar cloud still hanging over me, and a prayer on my lips.
“Father, can you just fix it?”
Weary from worry, tired from torment, I finally surrendered control and admitted that I was powerless to do anything about my problem. Having tried and failed to resolve it, I was left with no choice but to bring it before God.
“Dad, I’m worried. Can you sort it out? I am out of solutions. I am powerless to change anything.”
For a moment I was small again, bringing my problem to my dad with complete trust. My Heavenly Father who can mend anything and put the world right again. If only we could have faith as simple as a child’s all the time! Matters of faith should not be difficult, yet so often we struggle with it. In Mark 10 : 15, Jesus encouraged us to be like little children, embracing His Kingdom accordingly.
Yet, despite my child-like faith that morning, it didn’t take long for doubt to creep in. Within minutes, the attack commenced as the enemy’s lies pierced my spirit like fiery darts…
“Maybe there is a lesson God wants you to learn from this situation. It won’t be resolved until you have figured it out…”
“You need to learn patience before this is over…”
“God didn’t take Paul’s thorn in the flesh, why should he take yours?”
“You’re not seeing this as God sees it. God needs you to figure it out before he’ll help you…”
What else does doubt whisper? What attacks are launched on your own soul to discourage your faith? How can we stop doubt from assaulting us and become like children with simple, trusting faith as our Father desires? I believe that there are four steps that can help us back to that place of faith if we are aware of them.
Step one: Surrender! For me, faith came that morning when I acknowledged that I was powerless to change anything. When I accepted that I had no control and that none of my efforts would help me, I surrendered my problem to God. Often we need to surrender control in order to reach that place of child-like faith.
Children know they have no control or power over most things. They trust their parents. They have no problem leaving their baggage or problem with a parent and skipping away and forgetting it, because they know from experience that their parent will deal with it! The children I currently work with, have unshakeable confidence that I can make or fix absolutely anything! They believe anything is possible within the realm of arts and crafts. Sometimes I am daunted by the ‘faith’ they put in my abilities, feeling their confidence is misplaced! Not so with God! Our confidence is correctly placed in him. God is not daunted by our requests, or our belief in him. He really can make, do or fix anything!
Remembering our experience of God, how he has led us, intervened for us, healed us, heard us and handled our burdens before, helps us to enter that place of surrender. It is often only when we surrender and let go, that he can pick up the problem and step in!
Think of how we surrender in other ways. We surrender to the dentist when we lie back in the chair for a filling. We don’t grab the drill ourselves and get to work! As someone whose son is now driving, I surrender control to my son every time I sit in his vehicle as a passenger. I don’t grab the wheel and start driving from the passenger seat (although at first I wanted to!) Last week, my brother had to surrender completely to a plastic surgeon who put 20 stitches into his eyelid! They chatted whilst it was done and joked about the surgeon’s love of embroidery. Why? Because he trusted her skill and had complete faith in her ability to fix his eye.
Step two: Recognize the lies and half truths you are believing. What twisted truths are you listening to as you contemplate your problem? I listed some earlier, but maybe you have some surrounding the area of surrender and giving up control to God too. Is He trustworthy? Is he safe? If you can identify them, or have someone help you identify them, you can write them down and dispute them!
For example, here is one that has often come up with me:
“The Bible says God’s ways are different to your ways and his thoughts are different to yours. He may not see this as important..”
This is twisted Scripture! The Bible does indeed say that God’s ways and thoughts are different, or higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8) but this thinking (above) is narrow, questions Gods goodness and reflects doubt that He truly has my best interests at heart. Gods thoughts are ‘higher’ than ours because his view is higher than ours! He sees the whole picture, our whole life span, not just one small corner! He absolutely knows what is best for us. When our prayers are not answered in the way we hope, it may be because he is protecting us from something we cannot foresee, he has a better plan than ours, or maybe it is not about us at all! Several times when God clearly did not answer prayer in the way I asked, he confirmed to me that the issue was not about me, but the faith of others as they observed me walk the path he had chosen (which, incidentally, always had a better outcome than my original plan or request!)
It is also a lie that God would not see something as important. The Bible is full of accounts of just how important God’s people are to him, as he demonstrated repeatedly during his time on earth and through paying the ultimate price for us through his cruel death on the cross.
Here is another lie, fuelled by guilt:
“God is not going to help me because of that sin I committed..”
The Bible disagrees! God does not hold grudges. The Bible says that if we confess our sins and accept his forgiveness, he chooses to no longer remember them! “I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs.” (Hebrews 8:12)
Step three: Don’t let disappointment dictate. Life is full of ups, downs and disappointment. Children are so often full of optimism because they have not experienced disappointment like we adults have! They are overflowing with hopefulness and the belief that anything is possible! We adults find that disappointments slow us down, knock our confidence, or even cause us to become quite jaded and cynical. Children simply don’t have that because they have not usually experienced enough disappointment to dissuade their faith.
But what is disappointment at its core? Simply that we thought it would be different. Our expectation was that something would turn out differently to the way that it did. One of my former teachers, the late and very dear Selwyn Hughes of CWR, always said that disappointment is “His appointment”! God can take our expectations and our disappointment and make them his appointment to redeem the situation.
What causes disappointment? Unrealistic goals or hopes? Faulty thinking or assumptions? Comparing your story to others? Sometimes we need to ask ourselves if our thinking is flawed, or if we are making assumptions. Often, we doubt and listen to the lies of past experience. We forget God’s promises. We listen to the stories and wisdom of others instead of putting our focus and hope in God and His truth. Other people’s stories are not our story! Let me ask you if it was God or man who let you down? When God did not give you what you asked for, did he give you something better?
Step four: Correct your view of your Heavenly Father. God is not man. Thank goodness! Sometimes we mix up our feelings about God with those of our earthly parents, or other significant figures who have influenced our lives. A common doubt that frequently whispers to a friend is this:
“You can ask, but you might still be waiting in 30 years…God’s not in a hurry…”
As a child, my friend’s earthly father never got around to fulfilling his promises to her as a little girl. He would give his word, but never follow through. Countless requests to fix toys, take her on a daddy-daughter date and other promises to his daughter never materialized. Over and over she would get her hopes up, only to be disappointed, or to wait and wait…once for over a decade before he got around to keeping his word! No wonder she has a problem believing that God will follow through in a timely manner! God makes it very clear however that he is not to be compared to man.
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19)
My friend has had to renounce her wrong view of God and is working to correct her thinking about her heavenly Father based on Scriptural truth! Like her, we must throw off doubt and stop thinking of God as being like earthly parents or friends. The same applies for not only our problems, but our dreams and life goals. The lie says, “You might have to wait 30 years to fulfil your dream. You’ll be old and irrelevant by then.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
Sometimes God may ask us to wait a while, but always for a good reason, and he is always at work in our lives, growing and preparing us. We are always right on schedule according to his plan for us.
To come before God like a child is to come to him without doubts and fear, completely confident in his goodness and ability to handle anything we bring before him, just as we did with our own parents when we were small. He is not a God of confusion. He is not like man. He is a good Father. Recognize the lies you are listening to, throw off the disappointment which stems from earthly experience and surrender control to the One who has the higher view, sees the end from the beginning and has promised that His plans for you are good!
Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for often thinking of you as being like my earthly father or significant others in my life. I long to experience that child-like faith again as you desire. Please help me to lay aside my fears and to surrender control of my doubts, disappointments and dreams to you. Help me to recognize the lies I am believing and to put your truth in my heart. I choose this day to love and trust like a child again. In Jesus Name, Amen.