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Crisis of Faith

by Michael Hildreth

Have you ever prayed earnestly for God to intervene in your life, but nothing happens? You asked for something needed or you prayed for a sick family member who then dies from that sickness. You have read the passages again and again and you believed them (Isa. 41:9 & 10; Matt. 7:7; 21:22; Mk. 11:24; Jas. 5:14 – 18; et al). Yet, the result (or lack of result) seems to show that God is not working in your life. Then you begin to wonder, “Does God even answer prayer at all?” You may even ask yourself, “Is God really there?” This is what is called, a crisis of faith.

     People have dealt with this kind of crisis in various ways. One way they handle it is by explaining away the meaning of the verses which contain promises of God. They claim that these promises were only for first century believers or they claim that we should only make “spiritual” requests and we should not ask for physical things from God, such as bodily healing or career successes. With this approach, one may continue believing God exists but deny that he intervenes in our lives today. Sadly, this is a very popular way of interpreting Scripture in Churches of Christ.

     Another view holds that God is not answering our prayers because we do not have enough faith. If God has not provided whatever the petitioner is asking, it is evidence that the petitioner does not have faith to receive what was requested. This has been the explanation of popular television evangelists who make extravagant claims to their followers but fall short in what they can deliver. While it is true that one must ask for everything in faith (Jas. 1:5 – 8), it is also true that God sometimes withholds what was requested, even to the faithful.

     In our prayers, we must believe that we will receive what we ask for. However, we must also ask for those things in humility, knowing that God’s wisdom is infinitely beyond ours and he understands what we should and should not receive. Knowing that God is in control, we “pray without ceasing” and we make sure that we “never lose heart (1 Thess. 5:17; Lk. 18:1). He is faithful to deliver what we need at the right time, according to “the unchangeable character of his purpose” (cf. Heb. 6:13 – 18). Trust him alone!

 

Michael Hildreth is minister at the Pine Prairie Church of Christ, Pine Prairie, LA.

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4