Recently, a friend asked me to pray for his healing. As I prayed, I wondered if I really believed God could heal my friend and if I should ask someone else to pray instead. Did I want God to heal him? Of course! Do I believe God can heal him? Of course! So why did I think someone else should pray? It’s because in my past the miraculous wasn’t something that was taught or talked about like we do at Brentwood.
I spent my life, up until the age of 25, deeply entrenched in the church, first as a church member and then on a church staff. Now, don’t get me wrong, without my roots I would not be the man that I am today. In that church, I learned to love the Bible, I learned how to lead people, I learned what worship through music could look like even if there weren’t drums. I was given so much of the foundation of who I am as a person in the church, but we never really talked about the miraculous in a present tense. Sure, we had Sunday prayer meetings where we prayed for people to be healed and for God to do something amazing, but I never felt an expectation that God was going to do what we asked.
As Brentwood has walked through this year of Wonder, I’ve had moments where I’ve struggled to wrap my mind around everything God is doing. At times, I feel like I’m behind the curve – like I have to play catch up to be part of everything God is doing at our church. I want to be part of the miraculous. I want to be a part of the amazing things God is doing in our church, but often I need get out of my own way to see God moving.
In John 14, Jesus reminds His disciples of the power they possess when they ask for wonder in His name:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
Jesus, the man who fed the 5,000, healed the blind man, caused a paralyzed man to take his cot and walk, and raised Lazarus from the dead, says when we ask in His name, we will see even more amazing miracles. How is that possible? How can someone like me do something more amazing than raising someone from the dead? It’s terrifying. I wonder if God can really do those kinds of miracles through me, and if He doesn’t, what does that say about my relationship with Him? At the same time, I want to be part of that kind of wonder! I don’t want to be stuck on the sidelines while God does amazing miracles because I let what I’ve learned in my past tell me I shouldn’t speak or ask for miracles. When I’m asked to pray for a friend, I want to do it with conviction and power, and believe God will do what I ask.
I’m like the man in the crowd whose son was possessed by an evil spirit and begged Jesus to heal him. Mark 9:
“’…Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.’ ‘What do you mean, ‘If I can’?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’ The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!’”
Since the beginning of the year, our cry at Brentwood has been that God would show us wonder. In this season, I have to say exactly what the man said. I have to believe Jesus is capable of doing the miraculous, but I need His help to overcome my unbelief. I can’t hide in the shadows, I have to confess to God today that my unbelief is sometimes stronger than my belief, but I want that to change! I want to be a person who does even greater works as I ask for them in Jesus’ name. I want to be a person who sees the sick healed. I want to be a person who sees marriages restored. I want to be a person who sees the dead raised to life. I want to do what Jesus commands me to do in Matthew 7:7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Today, if you find yourself as more of a skeptic than a believer in wonder, do three things:
1. Ask God to show his power and wonder in something little.
2. Ask God to do something through you that is only possible with His power.
3. No matter what happens, keep asking and God promises you, you will receive.