I will never forget a life-changing encounter with the Lord. I’d been a Christian for only a few years, was still single and living in an apartment in North Carolina. One night, awakened from a deep sleep, I found myself jumping up from my bed and shouting, “I’m just looking for someone to believe!”
I shook myself fully awake, looked at my alarm clock, and discovered it was 4 a.m. It took a few moments to think through where I was and what had just happened. I turned on the light next to my bed and noticed that my sheets were soaked with sweat, yet I knew I had no fever or sickness. I was stunned as well in awe: I realized God had just spoken out of my mouth. Once I concluded this, my next thought was, Why wasn’t the message more profound. I know He is looking for people to believe. Still very sleepy, I turned the light off, lay down, and immediately fell back to sleep.
After I awoke that morning, the words kept reverberating through my being: I’m just looking for someone to believe…I’m just looking for someone to believe…I’m just looking for someone to believe… About midmorning, while walking through a vacant parking lot, the revelation suddenly hit me. I yelled out, “Wow, that is profound!”
From that moment I began to ponder two questions about Jesus’ stay on earth: What grieved Jesus the most? and What pleased Jesus the most?
After thinking it through, I realized that He was most pleased when people simply believed and was most grieved when people didn’t believe He would do what He said. Simply put, their lack of faith grieved Him deeply! Faith believes that God says what He means and means what He says. God is not a man to lie; rather He backs His word with the honor of His name. He swears by Himself since there is none higher. So when we doubt Him, we insult His integrity.
Everything we receive from the Lord is through faith. For example, consider the story of Bartimaeus.
On a particular day, Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a huge crowd surrounded Him. As they traveled on the road, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting on the road. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he began to cry out for the Master. Numerous bystanders scolded Bartimaeus, urging him to be quiet, not to trouble the Teacher. But Bartimaeus shouted even louder and caused Jesus to stop. (Mark 10:49a)
Jesus then gave the directive:
“Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” (Mark 10:49b, NLT)
Even though the people surrounding him were contrary to his cause, Bartimaeus would not be stopped in his faith.
Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:50-52, NLT)
It’s his faith that gets Bartimaeus in touch with the grace of God. His faith spoke, and his faith received from God.
How much is our Christianity driven by feelings, emotions, or intellectually processed information that kills our ability to believe? Are we like Bartimaeus, who would not be deterred, even when fellow seekers close by were telling him to calm down, accept his condition, be reasonable, and act like the rest of them? Are we like the men who came with the crippled man and couldn’t get close to Jesus but, because of their determination, climbed the roof and tore it open to receive from God? Are we like the woman who said, “Just let me touch Him,” and pressed through the crowd, all the while crawling in the dust between the feet of the mob in order to grab the hem of His garment?
What kind of faith have we been operating in? Have we been determined to receive? Are we relentless in our pursuit? Or are we subdued, tolerating what Jesus paid such a great price to liberate us from? Are we the generation that Jesus questioned, “But how much of that kind of faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?” (Luke 18:8)
Now is the time for the church to arise and walk extraordinarily in the power of grace through relentless faith. Quit looking at your ability, but focus in on His authority, His ability, His power that is residing inside you. He has given us so much! There is no limit to what we can do to help people come into fullness of life.
Adapted from Extraordinary by John Bevere.