Some of my best times with Jesus happen at our lake house. I love the quiet of the mornings there, where the only sounds I hear are the water lapping up against the dock, the birds greeting each other or a fish splashing out of the water. Each morning, I grab my coffee and my Bible, and I perch myself on our back porch. I take it all in – the Word, the nature, the restoration — all of it, God. I’m reminded, yet again, that I can experience Him most when I am still. (Psalm 46:10)
In this morning’s stillness, I experienced a renewed freshness from some scripture I’ve read many times. I love how He does that!! He speaks to us individually and uniquely each time. He knows just what our hearts need to be filled, and when we come to Him with a desire to be filled with His Goodness, He lovingly does just that.
In Matthew chapter 13, we read about Jesus being rejected in His own hometown. Verse 58 closes the chapter: And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Wow. Because they didn’t believe, they didn’t receive. That’s worth noting. (And, I’m not suggesting “prosperity gospel” here, but the impact of faith – or lack thereof.)
In chapter 14, we read the iconic story of Jesus walking on water. He approaches his disciples, who are in the boat, far away from the land. Thinking it’s surely a ghost coming toward them, they cry out in fear, but Jesus immediately responds, ‘Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.’ (v 27)
Looking for more assurance, Peter requests of the Lord to let him walk on the water out to meet Him. He asks for a miracle…and he gets one. Jesus empowers Peter, because of his faith, and Peter walks out of the boat, onto the water to meet Jesus. It all goes well until Peter begins to doubt. He saw the wind, and he replaced faith with fear. As he did, he also began to sink in the water. Thankfully, Jesus in His kindness reached out to save Peter anyway. He pulled Peter from the water, and the miracle moment was over. Jesus left Peter with this to ponder: why did you doubt? (v 31)
Chapter 14 closes with the boat crossing over the water, reaching land, and Jesus and His disciples being surrounded by people who recognized them. As word flowed through that land, people rushed to get close to Him, bringing their sick and begging for His healing. They approached Him with great faith and hope, pleading to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. (v 36) Healed, by the faith that He was able, and just by touching the edge of his clothes. Truly, miraculous!
The next chapter provides yet another reminder of this same point. A Canaanite woman, desperate for her daughter’s healing, approaches Jesus for help. Jesus does not immediately respond to her pleas, but she remains both persistent and faithful. Unfettered by his focus toward “the lost sheep of Israel,” she pleads again, kneeling before Him, requesting His mercy. Yielding, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Matthew 15:28)
Did you notice the exclamation point? It’s entirely possible that I, personally, use them too frequently, based on my enthusiasm for life and words…but in the Bible, punctuation really matters. It’s worth taking notice when Jesus says something with such emphasis. In the prior chapter, He tells us to take courage! In chapter 15, He exclaims, you have great faith! And just look at the impact in both cases.
It takes courage to have faith. They seem to go hand-in-hand. In our own humanity, and our need for “proof” of all things, we like to have certainty of the way to go. It’s so much easier when we know exactly where a step leads. Faith doesn’t ensure a particular outcome, nor a miracle, but we can confidently assume that without faith, there’s not going to be a divine miracle performed.
Miracles require faith. Faith could possibly produce a miracle. Want proof? The only way to get it is to believe, so why not go there? Why not ask God to help you in your unbelief? He will. He’ll be there for you. He will provide. It’s where the miracles start. Right in our own hearts; right where He resides when we place our faith in Him.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
I’m so thankful for story after story of faith in the Bible. So many times the Lord has proven faithful and put it on people’s hearts to record these events to help us know exactly who He is and how very much He loves us. We have so many opportunities to read these words, to hear Him speaking to our own heart, to trust Him.
Find the time. Seek the stillness. Engage in the Word…and be open to miracles. I find them nearly every morning with each breath I take, each second with Jesus, each glimpse of nature and creation…each of these, a living thing, a miracle.