The AWANA Cubbies' teacher is out of town and in preparation for teaching the lesson tonight, I read the accounts of Jesus' resurrection in all four Gospels. I came across the doubting Thomas passage, which I've read many times before. But the Holy Spirit teaches every scripture in our hearts with a different emphasis, depending on where we're at spiritually.
We can never be done with the Bible, but Satan can and will deceive us into thinking we don't need it, with as much cunning as he deceived Eve in the Garden. Essentially, the serpent told Eve, "You don't need God." And she believed him.
The less we read our Bibles, the less we have of God. And what do we need more than God? What do our souls crave more than God? Nothing.
Don't let the serpent work on you. The Bible is mirror and soap...to reveal and wash away our sins and give us a new beginning...a new energy to obey and serve. And a renewed hope in, and love for, the Lord our God.
Without mirror and soap, what would we be? Like filthy, stinky vagabonds, following the serpent blindly.
As you read this doubting Thomas passage, remember the lesson I wrote about on Monday, regarding the power of faith? Here we have another example of how we please the Lord with our faith. Look especially for Jesus' response to Thomas' doubting.
Jesus and Thomas (ESV scripture source here)24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
How many times have I prayed for my extended family's salvation over the past 16 years? More times than I can count, but how many times did I pray with a strong faith that the Lord would answer?
Less than I'd like to recount.
How many times have my husband and me prayed about my headaches over the 14 years we've been married? Countless times, but how many times did we pray with faith that healing would really happen?
I can only speak for myself, but....less times than I'd like to recount.
I have great faith, don't get me wrong. I know the Lord can save, and can heal. I know He's mighty enough...sovereign enough.
But lately scripture has taught me anew that my faith pleases the Lord. If I can't pray a prayer with real faith that it will be answered, why pray it at all?
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Isaiah 55:8-9, below, reminds me that God doesn't have to answer my prayers with a yes. His ways are not my ways and sometimes, a no answer is the best. He answers according to His will, and eventually as we grow in Him, we begin to pray according to His will.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Sometimes--this is what I think about perhaps too often--the Lord says no because His grace is sufficient for us, as he taught the Apostle Paul about the thorn in his flesh. My problem is that all too often I pray thinking God will say no, offering His grace instead.
When I pray without faith, who am I fooling? The Lord knows my heart when I pray. When I assume he will offer grace instead of a yes, aren't I being rather presumptuous...guessing the Lord's ways? Even questioning, in a sense, his sovereignty?
I urge you to consider, especially if you have long-unanswered prayer, are you praying with the faith of a little child? An eager, believing child?
Mark 10:13-16 He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them.
John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
We all need reminders of Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God...
Please Him today...pray old prayers with new faith.