The purpose of all faith is to bring us into direct, personal touch with God. True prayer is an awareness of our helpless need, an acknowledgment of divine adequacy. For Jesus, prayer was as necessary as breathing, the very breath of His life. Although God certainly knows all our needs, praying for them changes our attitude from complaint to praise, and enables us to participate in God's personal plans of our lives.
(Ray C. Stedman, Talking to My Father)
In Mark 5, Jesus strides directly into the deepest fears of several people. In an area that religious Jews avoided because of the darkness they saw. In a heart-lifting display of His power over... everything... He casts out demons by the thousand... He heals without intending to... He raises a little girl from the dead.
In every case, the people had no other option.
But they recognized that Jesus was their only true hope... precisely because they had exhausted their human search for a "fix it."
They came to him and put themselves at His feet.
Whatever they received would be something better than what their situation found themselves in. They saw in Jesus someone who could make that situation change and they desperately put themselves in position to get him to act.
And He did.
In the past year, I've learned more about faith than ever before - and I've lived a long time.
I never would have learned without being forced to. Never would have stopped to consider what little effect our methods, programs, etc. have on the development of a ministry that lives and breathes faith in God - because it has to. We've had some incredibly successful years here if you look at the numbers. But is that really success?
Or is increasing in dependency on God, in faith in His goodness, and in our actions in response?
It doesn't have to be either/or, and I hope one day to see both happening at the same time. But right now, I'm wanting to see God do what only He can do - here at New Hope, in the lives of many of our church families, and in my family's life.
I'm learning the secret.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Phil 4:12-13 (NIV)