The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, November 18, 2022, comes to us from Steve Wakefield of Alabama.
14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15 and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." 17 Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me." 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."
The following was written on a wall during the Holocaust by an unknown author: “I believe in the sun even when it is not shining, I believe in love even when I cannot feel it, I believe in God even when he is silent.” The writer describes faith so well – believing in the unseen. The first time I read the inscription, I contemplated how someone could have such faith during such a horrific time. Who was this person? What happened to them?
In the scripture reading for today, the disciples wanted to know why they could not heal someone the way Jesus did. Jesus replied that it was because they lacked faith. They did not believe they could heal, so they were unable to. Jesus goes on to say that you only need a little faith, the size of a mustard seed, to do great things like move mountains. Sometimes our faith is tested; sometimes God seems silent; sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered. But just as the sun still exists when we cannot see it, God is still with us even when God seems silent.
Steve’s reflection challenges us to examine what our faith is based upon? Is our faith strong only when we feel and see God at work in our lives? Do we have a faith based on a deep transformational relationship with God, or a faith built upon transactions – when God blesses we believe? There will be seasons when God seems silent, even Jesus experiences such a season when he is hanging on the cross (see Matt 27:46). How do we hold on to our faith when God seems silent and distant? How do we remain steadfast when the ground underneath us is constantly shifting? Faith is not the absence of doubts or questions; faith is the resolve to believe God is with us even when we don’t have certainty or solutions. Faith is a depth of conviction that God can do the impossible even if God does not do it in our current calamitous situation (see Dan 3:18). I invite you to take time today to nurture your faith, to deepen your relationship with God, so that when your season of silence comes you will remain firmly rooted.
Dear God, help us to know you are with us even when you seem silent. Strengthen our faith when we feel abandoned. Amen
-- Steve Wakefield
People facing persecution.
Thought for the day:
I have faith today that god is present in my life.