Mark 16:14 – Later Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were eating; He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen
Jesus told the disciples that their faith needed improvement. He had told them He would rise in three days, others had seen Him, and yet they despaired of ever seeing Him again…of His death. Their stubborn refusal to believe was an insult to Him and He told them so.
How often has God come to you and in a still small voice made a request but you refused to believe it was even Him talking. That has happened to me a number of times and it has taken Him three or four times to finally get me to move in the direction he wanted me to go. My faith was small…almost non-existent at those times but as I began to walk in his footsteps…my faith increased.
Steph couldn’t believe God wanted her to go to that place. Why? It didn’t make sense…or so she thought. What could she possibly have in common with all those people? Then Jesus spread His arms and showed her that He had died for them just as He had for her.
Her heart broke. They didn’t know that, did they? They walked through life, overcoming obstacles, loosing loved ones, coping with disease and never knew that Jesus loved them so much that He went to the cross for them. Steph’s eyes filled with tears. If God could use her to love just one of them into the kingdom, then she would go.
Little by little God prepared her for the journey ahead. He filled her with love for the people she’d encounter, helped her to become the non-judgmental person that she’d need to be so she could practice unconditional love. He also filled her life with Godly mentors who taught her how to be all prayed up for the days to come.
The first opportunity Steph had to love this people group, she looked in their faces. Hopelessness amidst the party shone from their eyes. Smiles were few and far between as their tough exterior hid the softer interior that hurt and suffered alone. She began by offering simple acts of kindness just as she’d been taught by her friends and from her study of God’s word.
Did God get the attention of the people Steph walked her faith beside? He did…oh…not right away. They watched. They listened for the disparaging comments that never came. They were drawn to the possibility that she was real. What made her tick?
Steph’s faith made it possible for God to use her in a culture that was totally foreign to her. Her faith helped her step into the unknown, walk where He wanted her to walk, and do what He wanted her to do, sometimes without ever saying a word. Steph’s faith emanated from her like a friendly beacon in a dark world. They didn’t see her…they saw Jesus.
God loves it when we step off that cliff into the unknown believing that He will place His hand of protection there for us to walk on. The apostle Peter asked Jesus to invite him to step out of the boat and that invitation has since gone out to each and every one of us. How large is your faith? Will you take that step, out of your comfortable place in life, to be used by God wherever and whenever? The rewards are too numerous to count.
Father, enlarge my faith. Help me love You, walk with You, and step out of my boat into the unknown because You have asked me to. Help me to trust even when I don’t know the particulars, but just because You are who You say You are and You can do what You say You can do and I believe it. Amen.