Jun 12, 2016
To be perfectly honest with you, the passage here in Matthew 21 is coming -- for me,at least -- at just the right time. And perhaps for you as well.
Given the current political climate in our beloved country, and the increasing despair that I have felt as the presidential primary season has now concluded, I so desperately need to hear my own message, courtesy of Jesus.
Jesus assured His disciples, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
As you will hear in this PODCAST, the irony of what Jesus said is so thick that you could cut it with the proverbial knife.
The irony being this: Jesus said those words to the disciples on the eve of His crucifixion in order to strengthen, to fortify their fragile faith. And frankly, to strengthen and to fortify ours.
Jesus knew that the events in their lives were about to spin seemingly out of control. The hopes they harbored in their hearts were about to be crushed into the ash heap of history. The Jesus movement in which they played a central role was about to careen into a wall and to explode into a thousand broken pieces.
The wave they had been riding had peaked on Sunday during the Triumphal Entry, and then again on Monday during the Cleansing of the Temple. But Jesus knew only too well on that Tuesday AM that by Thursday PM that same storm surge would dash them into the jagged rocks of reality.
So to bolster their soon-to-be faltering faith (and ours), Jesus made them (and us) this glorious promise: “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
The only problem with that promise? As many of us have come to experience during own crises of faith, It.Doesn’t.Always.Work.
If it did, none of our loved ones would ever die. (Who of us hasn’t prayed for God, in faith believing -- to invoke Jesus’ formula -- to heal someone near/dear to us, only to watch them whither away to nothing?)
Our kids would never disappoint us, if that promise worked. (What parent hasn’t prayed diligently for their children, in faith believing, Amen, only to stand by and watch helplessly and at times hopelessly as one or more of our kids go sideways?)
If that promise did indeed work, we would always get the jobs we want, have the perfect marriages for which we pray, have enough money at end of each month.
Fact is, myriads of books been written and purchased and read about that promise. Countless sermons been preached and listened to and heeded. All to affirm the fact that if we pray in faith believing and do not doubt, we will receive whatever things we ask. We CAN move mountains by our prayers, we are told. The mountain of sickness, the mountain of debt, the mountain of broken relationships, the mountain of wayward children.
Over the years, I’ve heard it all, read it all, a thousand times. To the point where I’m sick of hearing it. Because it just doesn’t work… Or does it?
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God bless you richly as you listen.