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'A Question of Faith'

St. Ambrose

... the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?"

- Matthew 9:28

If Jesus were to ask me the above question while I sit in prayer, I hope that I could answer, "Yes, Lord, I believe!" But I'm not sure I could honestly reply that way. I'm more likely to reply, "I do believe; help my unbelief!"

Maybe this is the true work of prayer, working at belief, practicing belief. In sitting for half an hour each morning, I am, actually, expressing belief, however much my mind doubts. It is truly an act of faith, not of certainty, to sit, day after day, when my mind is mostly asking for help with my unbelief.

Actually, it strikes me that having faith necessarily means having doubt. If we have no doubt, we have certainty--which I don't believe is faith. So, by definition then, by practicing my prayer in faith, I am always practicing in spite of my doubt.

- Aileen O'Donoghue
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Exactly! I feel the same. One of my nightly prayers is, "Jesus, I trust in you. Increase my faith." Maybe someday I'll be able to say, "I believe" without adding the caveat, "Help my unbelief." I'm sure St. Peter felt the same, brimming with faith, when he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water before those niggling little doubts and fears crept in and he started to sink. But for now I, like you, need more practice.
Timothy | Posted on: 2018-12-07 19:07:03
Thank you Aileen for your devotion today.

Thank you Living Faith Family for sharing and your wonderful responses.

Like Tim, for me, it's not as much that I don't believe, as it is God's timing in answering prayers. God has answered prayers for me that others thought were impossible, but deep inside I knew he could and he pulled through.

I get impatient when my prayers that aren't answered when I feel that I need them, when I want them answered or when they remain unanswered. I tell myself, I know He can do it, why doesn't he.

It's not my disbelieve, it's that I need to be reminded that God knows what is best for me, He knows my life from beginning to end and knows when the time is right.

Lord, please give me patience and continue to remind me that it is not my will but "Your will be done". Amen.

Tillie | Posted on: 2018-12-07 15:35:51
Thank You, Lord, for Aileen's devotion this morning and that of our (Matt and I) devotion of Psalm 42:1-2, "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?" Amen!

Excerpt from the devotion, "we too can experience this sense of panting drought. It's as though God has disappeared, leaving nothing but a stale, spiritual deadness in its place. Our worship is cold and lifeless. Our time in the Word is dry and flat. Getting motivated to pray or be upbeat for our friends is almost more than we can physically muster. We're washed out. Empty. Gasping for air. Parched, tired, and people avoidant. Nothing we do can seem to stir up those feelings that used to be right here, as easy as turning on a faucet. And now we don't know whether to feel guilty or disillusioned or old or in need of a vacation. We just know we feel dry. And thirsty. But God will sometimes test us with seasons like these, trusting us with blandness to see if we'll believe He's still there, still at work behind the scorching skies of dryness. For if we'll wait in faith, if we'll persevere, "He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land" (Hosea 6:3). He will! And our thirst, though real and genuine, will be slated in the only place where this kind of thirst can ever be satisfied. Only in Him!!!"

I cried as I read it with Matt! It was a very tough night last night :-( Matt was in pain and there was nothing I could do to ease or take away the pain! It was a tough couple of days! Driving back for three hours in and out of snow on Wednesday after the surgery. It was a tough couple of weeks as my father in Toronto was moved into isolation because of infection. It was a tough couple of months traveling to and from Toronto with doctors appointments, MRI and x-rays for Matt at home and at Winston-Salem!

But you know what, God is still on the throne! He still has the best for us! Looking back on my prayers, I realize He has given me the words to pray and revealed to me He's got us in the palms of His hands! Hindsight is always twenty/twenty...

So I can relate to these songs:
* You Say by Lauren Daigle, https://youtu.be/oZvKJl1kK8g
* Confidence by Sanctus Real, https://youtu.be/MEGGVmSSr-I

Amen! Amen!
Salina | Posted on: 2018-12-07 11:49:19
Thank you God for the sunshine today
Thank you God for this season of Advent
Please prepare our hearts to Hope
Please prepare our hearts to Love
Please prepare our hearts to Give
Thank you Father for your word
Luke 1: 26 - 38
Ana | Posted on: 2018-12-07 10:21:27
Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.
Nick | Posted on: 2018-12-07 09:46:48
Yes, we have periods of doubt, but it’s hope that keeps our faith alive.
Sue | Posted on: 2018-12-07 09:27:37
William Shakespeare — 'Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.'
Nick | Posted on:: 2018-12-07 09:53:01
Amen. :)
freeter | Posted on: 2018-12-07 09:26:18
Blessings and thank you! We all have our moments of doubt and you expressed so succinctly why we need to continue praying. I felt such comfort when I read that even Mother Teresa had periods of doubt, but still continued to pray and do God's work.
Jacalynn | Posted on: 2018-12-07 08:54:03
Thank you all for your continuing prayers for my Aunt Margaret.

Also, thank you today for today’s message. I find myself with not so much not believing as to reminding myself that God answers on his timeline not mine. I believe it is because he is still writing our life’s story and I surly do do not want to take the pen from his hand.

Keep reading scripture-the word, do not loose faith, keep praying and know he is just writing your story on your personal canvas.

Tim | Posted on: 2018-12-07 08:30:11
Amen! I agree, Tim! Thank you...
Salina | Posted on:: 2018-12-07 10:41:23
Aileen, Martha and Paul- I so agree! This is how I’ve felt with my prayer life recently as I’m struggling with some turmoil in my life. So glad to hear that I’m not alone with this belief/unbelief situation! Thanks for sharing this.
Sandy | Posted on: 2018-12-07 08:04:05
Isn't it funny that when we share our most honest, intimate thoughts, God uses us to connect truthfully with others? It always feels different when we hear the truth from eachother, and it is truly a blessing!

Thank you for sharing, Aileen.
Bob M | Posted on: 2018-12-07 07:42:53
This reflects how often I feel. Reassuring to know someone else struggles with doubts but continues to have faith. You have helped me to start my day off on a positive note.
Martha | Posted on: 2018-12-07 07:27:34
What you have written, Aileen, fully resonates with me as my thoughts on faith and belief are identical. This messages is timely and reassuring as I am in the midst of great uncertainty. I have found uncertainty to be a great tester of faith. Thank you for this gift of revelation that I am not alone to start this day.
Paul | Posted on: 2018-12-07 07:14:13
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