Monday, October 15, 2012


I spent last weekend in Oakland with some pretty amazing people during the Momentum Conference. One by one people came forward and shared incredible testimonies of how God radically intervened to change someone’s life, or to share the Gospel like wildfire – from one simple woman in the Bay Area to her entire family in South America where dozens of new churches were planted.

As I listened to these stories I couldn’t help but feel challenged in my faith and, at the same time, embarrassed by my lack of faith.

I couldn’t help but compare these testimonies with my own experiences in our neighborhood, or with similar situations at the motel where we’ve served for over a decade now. I started to wonder why we don’t have the same kind of testimonies that these people had. Little by little I realized that it probably had to do with my own lack of faith.

Not that I don’t believe that God can work miracles. I’ve seen and experienced some pretty incredible things in my life, from answered prayers, to healings, and words of knowledge, and visions, and prophetic dreams, even the gift of tongues. I believe that God can perform miracles today. I guess recently I’ve started to doubt that He might want to, or that He would if I asked him to.

As I reflect back over the last year I realize that there have been situations where I’ve prayed for people in various levels of poverty, bondage, addiction, despair, and hopelessness. Even though I’ve prayed for them and asked God to intervene, there are times – if I’m honest – that I’ve doubted that God would heal them, or change their situation. Not that He could do that, but that He would do it. This is my sin. My sin of unbelief.

One of the people who stood up and gave his testimony at the Momentum Conference was a man who had lost his marriage, his dignity, and fallen into drug addiction. He was far from God. He wanted to die. He overdosed multiple times and each time God saved him. One day a man came to his door and brought him groceries. He began to befriend him. He helped him to stay sober for about 3 months, but then one night the pain and despair overcame him and he overdosed again in an attempt to take his own life. Once again someone found him and called the Ambulance. He survived.
The day after he returned from the hospital this same man asked him why he had gone back to drugs. He said he didn’t want to live anymore. He said he only wanted to live if he could have his life back again. In that moment, I hope I would have said what this brother said to him – “Do you want God to change your life?” He said “yes”. The man asked him, “Are you willing to start right now to trust God and to get your life back?” Again, the man said “yes”. So, they took him to a rehab center that very hour and he got cleaned up, put his life into God’s hands, and experienced a remarkable transformation.

Do you know how many people I’ve sat down with who had this same struggle? I can’t count them. But I do remember some of them so clearly in my mind, and I remember doubting that God could turn things around for them. Oh, I prayed with them. I asked God to show His love and mercy to them. I even prayed for God to help them get over their addictions and overcome their poverty and kick their bad habits. But I left doubting that anything might change. I expected to see them next week in the very same place – weak, addicted, and struggling. Most of the time I was right.

Why has doubt crept into my heart? Why do I think that God doesn’t want to heal, or change, or rescue people like this? Maybe because I’ve seen too many prayers unanswered. Maybe because I watched my friend Robert Higgins die from bone cancer without being healed. Maybe because something is broken in my relationship with Jesus and I need to realign myself with his heart for people and his love for them – and for me.

One thing is certain; God still works miracles today. He’s still transforming lives and healing addictions and rescuing the lost and building His Kingdom right now. I’ve heard the testimonies with my own ears. I’ve shaken hands with the ones He’s healed. I’ve seen for myself the joy of new life in the eyes of a former heroin addict who now pours out his life for others so that they can experience this same transformative Jesus for themselves.

 My only comfort today is that Jesus knows all about my doubt. He’s not shocked. In fact, He’s even willing to work around my lack of faith and use whatever meager offering I place at His feet today for His glory.

I’m reminded of the man whose son was plagued by demons in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus’ disciples could not cast the demon out and after Jesus asked the man about the boy and how long he had been like this, the boy’s father said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus response was quick, “’If you can’? Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

That’s me. I do believe, but I pray that Jesus would help me overcome my unbelief. I need to be healed of that so He can heal others through me.

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”
– (1 Tim.2:11-13)

Thank you, Jesus, for making room for my unbelief and for being faithful, even when I am faithless.

Help my unbelief.



1 comment:

Rachel Virginia said...

I think, the fact that Christ makes room for our unbelief is one of the most encouraging truths in my life these days.

Thanks for sharing, Keith. :)
From Philly,
Rachel Virginia