“And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”
- Mark 4:40 NASB
I was thinking about my pet duck, Larry, earlier today, and how he was having trouble walking. As I thought about him turning 10 years old this summer, and how his health was declining, I began to weep. Suddenly, I felt strongly convicted in my spirit, and as I turned to the Lord for clarification, He spoke three things to my heart.
First, He said: “Why are you crying? If you are praying for Larry, and trusting Me to take care of him, what is there to cry about? This kind of crying is rooted in fear.” The Bible says that the Lord tenderly saves our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), so we know that He is not against crying. But the kind of weeping I was doing was a result of my fears and doubts. I was already trying to imagine life without Larry, something that indicated that I was losing hope and yielding to unbelief, instead of praying and standing in faith for the Lord to intervene. And God was not pleased with my lack of faith, because He knows that it will always rob His children of His best. What we have to remember is that while God has good plans in store for us, the devil has plans of his own—and they are anything but good. And just as faith opens the door for God to work on our behalf, fear and unbelief open the door to the Destroyer. That’s why the apostle Paul was so adamant about us “casting down imaginations” that are displeasing to God. (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV) When we make our thoughts obedient to Christ, as Paul goes on to say in this verse, we will be able to lay hold of God’s best in our situation.
The next thing the Lord spoke to my heart was: “Don’t let the devil see you crying over this.” The Lord reminded me that in the spiritual realm, our faith walk is on display at all times—to God and His angelic hosts, and to Satan and his forces of darkness. When we are walking in close fellowship with the Lord, there may be times when we will hear Him say to our spirit, “Don’t allow the devil to see you upset about this.” Or, “Let the devil see you kneeling before Me.” I have even sensed the Lord telling me, “I want you to lift your hands up in praise.” When I have been sensitive and obedient to these promptings from the Spirit of God, I have seen the Lord do unexpected and incredible things on my behalf, and on behalf of those I pray for.” I do my best to stay “on my toes” spiritually at all times, because I don’t want to miss out on any of the good things the Lord has in store.
Next, God told me: “Don’t keep saying, ‘Well, Larry is 10 years old now. It’s understandable that he would have problems at his age.’” God was warning me about dangerous assumptions. He didn’t want me giving place to doubt and fear, disguised as reason and rationale. Our God is a God of miracles. He loves to do the unexpected. And He loves to exceed our highest expectations. (Isaiah 64:3) When Jesus said, “According to your faith will it be done to you,” He was warning us that our faith response would have a major impact on our outcome. (Matthew 9:29 NIV) Some believers don’t want to accept this truth because it gives them a greater degree of responsibility, but I see it as challenging and encouraging. It makes me realize that Christ-followers don’t have to be victims of their circumstances, but they have the privilege of partnering with God to receive the best outcome He has for them.
The Lord impressed upon me that this time, it was “only” a pet. But in the future, it could be a precious family member or other loved one who needed my prayers and my faith. He instructed me that in cases like these, He wanted me to firmly put my trust in Him, to claim His promises of divine help, and to praise Him in advance for exceeding all of my expectations. I’m putting my hope in God, where Larry’s welfare is concerned. Are you putting your hope in Him in your situation today?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my fears and doubts, and replace them with faith and confidence in You. Help me to cooperate with You for the building of my faith by spending regular time in undistracted prayer, praise, and the study of Your Word. Thank You that as I place my trust in Your wisdom, goodness, and power, I will open the door for You to work wonders on my behalf!
- J. M. Farro