I’ve been reading my way through the New Testament, and must say I often find myself laughing at how ridiculously clueless Jesus’s disciples seemed to be. All throughout their journey together, they said things that sounded kind of like this:
“That’s too impossible.”
“Why are we going here?”
“Do we really have to help them?”
“When will this waiting be over?”
“Has He forgotten about us?”
(See John 11, John 6, Luke 24, Mark 4, Matthew 16 as some examples.)
These were His closest companions who had witnessed every healing, sign, and wonder. They watched as the prophecies of their people unfolded before their very eyes on a daily basis.
Jesus invested in them.
He mentored them.
He protected them.
He encouraged them.
Even though society had labeled them as unimportant, He chose them to play monumental roles during the greatest moments of all of time. Jesus loved His disciples and gave them purpose. They should have had absolutely no doubt in Jesus’ abilities. Yet no matter how many miracles they experienced and how much Jesus poured into them … They were skeptical. They complained, they assumed the worst, and they questioned Jesus’s methods at every turn.
Didn’t they know who Jesus was?
It amazes me just how much patience Jesus gave them over and over. As they would enter into a new miraculous venture, He would say, “I’m thankful we get this opportunity. Maybe now you will truly believe in me.” And even when they would continue to hesitate, Jesus did not reach a breaking point, blow up in anger toward them, or walk away as you or I probably would. He would simply continue on as before: loving them, molding them, and hoping that just maybe tomorrow would hold the key to their belief.
I imagine it must have been rather frustrating at times to prove Himself over and over only to be met with uncertainty. If His followers wouldn’t fully believe, how would anyone else? And I imagine there were many more times when Jesus was quite heartbroken watching those closest to Him struggle to simply trust in His guidance.
Lately, I’ve been burdened by these thoughts: I wonder how many times Jesus’ heart breaks for my disbelief. I wonder if with each day that He exceeds my every need, He hopes this will be the day that He is enough for me. And I wonder if the stories of my life were to be printed in Scripture like the disciples’ were, would I read it, laugh, and think, “How completely clueless she is! Doesn’t she know who Jesus is?”?
As unreasonable as the disciples’ actions are to me, I find my own actions to be even more unreasonable at times.
I have the ability to have an even closer relationship with Jesus than the disciples did. They got to walk beside Him for a few years; I get to have His Spirit live in me all my life. I am able to learn from the victories and mistakes of God’s people in the Bible and see how gracious and faithful He has been to His creations since the beginning of time.
I have witnessed the hand of God in my own life and others’ more times than I could possibly count. I have experienced the unmatched love and grace of Jesus Christ, watched miracles happen, and seen promises fulfilled. I have been chosen and loved by Him through every sin. I have no excuse for naivety or ignorance. And yet . . .
When trouble comes, I worry.
When my season of life is still, I question.
When my path turns a different direction than expected, I complain.
When God leads me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown, I say it’s too much to handle.
After everything I’ve seen and everything I know to be true about my God, why do I doubt His plan? Why do I hesitate to believe He is always working all things for good like He says in His Word (Romans 8:28)?
I’ve realized there’s a big difference between believing that God can and believing that He is. What I mean by that is this: Believing not just that He can heal, but that He is the Healer. Believing not just that He can bring peace to my life, but that He is the Prince of Peace. That He can not only provide, redeem, and save, but that He is the Provider, Redeemer, and Savior.
Believing Jesus can is not wrong, but it’s only the first step. When you believe He is, you know that it’s not a choice He makes but simply a part of His being.
You begin to understand that there is no question of whether or not He loves you and is working everything for good. You just know that God and everything He does is love and is good. And I think if we’re able to grasp that -- truly grasp it -- we move from a place of clueless doubt to confident faith. And that, my friends, is what moves mountains.
I’m thankful Jesus gives me patience in my moments of hesitation. But as I continue to pursue a life of following Jesus, I don’t want to have anymore hesitation. I want to show more faith in His words than I do fear of the unknown. I want to assume the best in Him because I know He wants the best for me. I know that in order to do that, I have to allow myself to trust Him with all my heart. Because how could I ever wholeheartedly follow Him if I don’t first wholeheartedly believe He is who He says He is? And if I, as a follower of Christ, cannot believe that Christ IS … Who will?
Here are some scriptures to be reminded about who He is:
*Psalm 116:5 - God is kind. * 1 John 4:16 - God is love. * Deuteronomy 32:4 - God is faithful and just. * Deuteronomy 4:31 - God is merciful. * Psalm 27:1 - God is light. * Psalm 86:5 - God is forgiving. * Joshua 1:9 - He is ever-present. * Isaiah 40:28-29 - God is power and strength. *Nahum 1:7 - God is our safe place.*