There's a strange story in II Kings 13. The prophet Elisha is on his death bed and King Joash comes to visit him. King Joash is distraught because he fears the loss of God's power with the death of Elisha. He is thinking about his enemies, the Syrians, and wondering if he will be able to win his battles against them any more. Elisha lead him through a visual illustration of how God wanted to make an end of Joash's enemies with His arrow of victory. Then he asked Joash to take his arrows and strike the ground. Joash struck the ground three times and stopped. It says that Elisha was angry with him because he had stopped at three times. Elisha told him that he would only have three victories over the Syrians, but if he had struck the ground five or six times, the Lord would have given him complete victory over the Syrians.
Doesn't it seem odd that God released His power to the degree that Joash had faith? If you think that's just an Old Testament story, how do you explain Jesus telling the two blind guys in Matthew 9 that they would be healed "according to their faith"? Would God show His power in our lives to the degree that we express our faith? If so, then the powerless living that we settle for so often is a reflection of our faith not a reflection of God's will for our lives.
This is not a call to "name it and claim it theology". If you know me at all, you know that I believe in a sovereign God who has the authority to allow anything in our lives that He wants to and He will not be manipulated by our loud declarations of faith. I detest the kind of teaching that makes people feel like failures because they didn't get everything they were asking God for. That kind of teaching doesn't increase faith in people; it erodes it.
What I am talking about is an insistent trust in the goodness of God's heart and the power of His hand. It's choosing to believe God instead of listening to our fears. It's praying with persistence like Jesus taught us to do in Luke 18:1-8. It's viewing our problems in the light of God's power. This kind of faith is built on relationship not guilt. Do you know God well enough that you can stake your life and future on His love for you?
What does this all have to do with our need for a place to have church? It's probably obvious, but God might not drop a building into our laps because we spent several minutes praying about it one Sunday morning. I had a meeting today with a couple people about a possibility for our church and I left feeling discouraged because I was expecting them to be eager to make their building available to us. I had thoughts like, "we prayed about this, but did it do any good?" and "why would God lead us here and then not provide for us?" I hate to admit that my faith is shook that easily. As I've prayed and processed in the past several hours, I believe that God is asking us to get more serious about praying.
We are in a spiritual battle and we need to pray like it. The enemy doesn't want Cornerstone church to have a place to worship. Seriously. Do we honestly think that the spiritual enemies of God are apathetic about us meeting together to worship and grow? They hate what happens there on a Sunday morning.
I know that God could defeat them in an instant, and I do believe that He has been protecting us, but somehow in His sovereign plan He allows problems in our lives and then He asks us to express our faith as we ask for help. Then He responds accordingly. This may be one of those times when He wants the people of Cornerstone to "grab their arrows and beat the ground like they mean it". Could you fast from something you enjoy this week and call out to God? Do you know Him as Provider and Protector? Do you pray like you trust Him?
Let's pray like we mean it and ask God to strengthen our weak faith!