In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Pastor Jim Shields
It’s easy for Jesus to say, “Have faith in God.” He and the Father are one. In the most real sense, He is God. Of course, we are supposed to have faith in God. And I do.
I have more trouble with having faith in God doing what I ask. Jesus didn’t seem to struggle with this at all. He wanders by a leafy fig tree and almost casually condemns it to death, and the next day, no figs, no leaves, no tree. I, on the other hand, have a friend in a wheel chair who has been a focus of my prayerful concern for a few years. We go to movies to laugh together and make our life together seem more normal. But I am still pushing this God lover in his chair, so this situation causes me a lot of confusion.
So as we approach Easter, I want to look at my request a little closer. My friend’s wheelchair situation is a “mountain” for sure. I can’t believe it doesn’t beat out a non-producing fig tree in the mountain category. I have asked for this mountain to be removed. So here is where I get tripped up: Doubt in my heart. My heart is an interesting place. Sometimes it is full of faith and sometimes it cries out as if God doesn’t care about me at all. Most of the time it is somewhere in-between, and that is not a good place for my friend or me.
The “when you pray” jumps out in this passage like a lost slipper in a cluttered closet. I have been looking for this for awhile. Prayer is a conversation. It is two way, not just my pleadings, but listening, gathering input, changing my mind to fit His desire and purpose. This conversation with the Father is what Jesus had down. I do not. Jesus did only what the Father wanted and when He wanted it. They were one. Jesus gives me that same opportunity. It takes some time. Conversation takes time. Hearing and then understanding what I hear take time. So here I go to ask Jesus about what is to be done with my friend.
Jesus, help my faith where it counts. Help me listen and help me understand. Amen.