Thursday, September 23, 2010

Answered Prayers

“Now when the trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God, and to trust rather in ourselves, or in our friends, or in circumstances.
  “We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or other, than simply look to God and wait for His help.  But if we do not patiently wait for God’s help, if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith it will be thus again, we shall be again inclined to deliver ourselves; and thus with every fresh instance of that kind, our faith will decrease; whilst on the contrary, were we to stand still, in order to see the salvation of God, to see His hand stretched out on our behalf, trusting in Him alone, then our faith would be increased, and with every fresh case in which the hand of God is stretched out on our behalf in the hour of the trial of our faith, our faith would be increased yet more.
 “Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to His child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him.”
Answers to Prayer
This excerpt from George Mueller’s Answers to Prayer is one of the greatest summations of a life of faith that I have ever read.  I put it in this way: suppose I asked my wife for baked chicken for dinner.  She defrosts the chicken, after 5 minutes of waiting, I decide, “She must not have wanted me to have the chicken” and I go microwave some Ramen noodles.  I subsequently eat them and go back to the living room.  I will no longer be in the position to receive the chicken I have asked for, when she brings it to the dinner table.  By making the Ramen noodles, I will have “worked my own deliverance” as George Muller refers to it.  However, should I choose to patiently maintain a position of expectation by sitting at the dinner table awaiting the provision I have asked for, I would see the answer to my petition.
Mr. Mueller’s life was a demonstration of a life of faith that we are all expected to walk out.  The observation that our tendency is to work our own deliverance speaks to the heart of the traditional “American Way”.  We are raised under the notion that we must work hard to receive the desired results.  This is not to suggest that hard work is bad, it is Biblical (see Pro 12:24, Eph 4:23, 2 Thes 3:8, Acts 18:3).  However, we have been redeemed from the curse (Gal 3:13) and have inherited faith which releases supernatural provision and multiplication of the results of our toil (remember Peter and the fish the full net or Elisha and the widow's oil jars).
I believe there is a degree of faith with which we can live where we are no longer toiling for our needs, but calling them in by faithful prayer as we wait upon the Lord to be our Provider.  George Mueller reached that point in his life.  Christ started ministry and did the same.  We don’t see Jesus laboring to earn wages, instead when He had need for finances it was obtained supernaturally (Mt 27:24-27).  As we continue to persevere through the test of faith with expectation and patience, our faith grows, until we reach the point where we know that God is not only capable of providing our daily needs… but willing.

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