When I was a young believer I had a troubling introduction to charismatics. I attended a Bible study in college that was led by charismatics. It was a great group, lots of fun, with reasonably good Bible study. Even then, I wondered about some of the applications, but I have found that to be true in almost all small group studies. By and large, it was good to be a part of a dynamic gathering of believers.
Until that one evening when the leader decided it was time to heal the blind lady. This lady had attended several meetings without event but that night she was singled out for healing. I remember the leader asking her if she wanted to be healed and she responded that she would. Then he began to pray. He laid his hand on her eyes and prayed fervently. We all prayed. It was a serious moment. When he stopped, he asked her to open her eyes. She was still blind. Up to that point, I was okay with what happened. I knew even then that sometimes God says “no” or “wait.”
But the leader could not accept that the healing didn’t happen. He began to berate the poor lady, telling her that it was her fault. She needed more faith. If she really had enough faith, she would be healed. He told her this over and over and she was crying loudly—it was terrible. I wanted nothing to do with charismatics after that.
Now, before you write to correct me, let me say that I have since come to understand that this does not represent most charismatics. I have attended a charismatic church and I have many charismatic friends with whom I pray. I have never seen anything like this since. But I know that it happens, and it happens even outside of the charismatic teaching.
If you just had enough faith…
You could overcome those financial problems. You could end the sickness in your life. You could heal your child. You could mend that relationship. You could sleep at night. You could be rich. And on, and on, and on. You and I see it on television all the time. Just have faith and the orphanage will be built. Just have faith and your candidate will win. Just have faith and you will be blessed in the way you want.
Jesus did say that we should pray for more faith, but why? Should we pray for more faith so that we can get what we want? Or should we pray for faith to trust Him more? What if the Lord knows that the blessing will be greater in your life if you don’t get what you want? Can you trust Him? What if not getting what you want is a blessing from Him?
You see, I think it takes more faith to trust Him to provide what is best than it does to demand that He gives you what you want. Do I believe that God could let me win the lottery? Of course! (He would have to send me a ticket somehow because I know too much about math to play.) He could do that. Could He heal people in my church after I pray? Of course! My God can do anything! But I want to trust Him as much when He withholds what I want as when He gives it. I want to rejoice as much for prayer that receives a “no” as for a prayer that receives a “yes.”
There is nothing wrong with asking for healing or deliverance or provision. In fact, I think He wants us to ask. He wants us to look to Him and understand that He is our hope. It is good for us to pray fervently for each other and to take our concerns to Him. He does love us and many times He gives us what we desire. But great faith allows us to trust His love.
So let’s change that sentence. If you just had enough faith, you would know that the Lord loves you whatever your circumstances and you could ask Him for what you want and trust whatever answer He gives.