We need rain! In East Tennessee we currently have multiple fires burning sending smoke into the air in a spreading blanket of contamination across the area. While we have needed rain for several months, it was only of passing general interest.
I drafted this post before the air quality alerts went into effect and the need for significant rain became obvious on a daily basis. The initial focus of the post is rain, but its application relates to faith in all areas of our life. May it be a blessing and a challenge to you, my dear Reader.
A friend sent me a modern parable that goes something like this:
It was especially dry, and the village needed water but no rain was in the offing. In response to the situation, all the villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer, all the people gathered and prayed, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That’s FAITH.
This parable reminds me of an Old Testament story illustrating faith. There had been no rain in the land as a judgment by God on the people and evil King Ahab, and this act of judgment was to be relieved only by Elijah’s word. I Kings 17. After winning the challenge between Baal and God on Mount Carmel, the people repented of their sin in going after other gods, and they said that the Lord would be their Lord.
Thus, the prophet prayed for relief from God’s judgment. After petitioning God for rain, the following discourse occurred between Elijah and his servant.
And he [Elijah] said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he [the servant] went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he [Elijah] said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he [the servant] said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he [Elijah] said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'”
1 Kings 18:43-44.
Elijah sent his servant to look for the rain cloud … 7 times. And, that 7th time the servant saw “a little cloud like a man’s hand”. Although no rain had yet fallen, Elijah told the servant to go tell the king to get ready to run now, otherwise you will be stuck in the mud because of the rain. That’s FAITH.
What is scriptural faith? In the Bible, the writer of Hebrews describes faith as follows:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. … And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:1, 6.
It is not faith in everything that comes along, nor is it a blind faith that has no foundation. Your faith is misplaced if you sit in a small plastic chair for it will collapse under the weight of a 250 pound person. Clearly, the amount of your faith is not in question — you acted on your faith by physically sitting down. The problem was that the object of your faith was seriously deficient.
Faith in God, the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the Lover of our souls, and the foundation of our salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord is the faith that provides peace, support, and salvation. Faith alone in God, through Christ Jesus, is the path to eternal life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17. Note, the King James Version of verse 17 uses the more familiar language “The just shall live by faith.” The meaning of the two translations is the same – God justifies and declares us righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Jesus repeatedly told persons during His ministry that the faith of those He healed had made them well. For example:
Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”
And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
These people had faith that Jesus could heal them, an event that had not occurred but was to be in the future. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, they were healed so that God would be glorified. It was at that point that their faith became a reality.
So, when you pray, do you have faith that you will receive an answer to your prayer? The answer may not come immediately, and it may not come in a form that you expect; but there will be an answer. David understood that God would answer his prayer according to God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Your steadfast love answer me in Your saving faithfulness.
Praise God that He is faithful, that He abounds in steadfast love. He is in control, He is the Almighty God, and He will respond to the prayer of faith in His time and in His way.
By the way, do you know where your umbrella is?
Father, I pray that I would have more faith so that I would be the one who brings the umbrella when prayers are raised up for rain. I pray that my prayers would not just take up my time but that they would come before you in your majesty and power. And, I pray that I would not be faint when the answer seems to be so long in coming; may I trust in your unfailing love and mercy and may I rest in your grace, through Christ my Savior I pray.