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by David Phelps

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” - Mother Teresa

June, 2002

Not long ago, I was working on a project and trying to save some money. It turned out that the amount I was trying to save was equal to about $5 a year! At that time, someone reminded me, "He owns enough cattle on the hills to cover that." (Psa. 50:10b). If you're like me, you sometimes have difficulty trusting God. Like many of us, I frequently say, with the father of the boy who had been possessed by an unclean spirit, "'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'" (Mark 9:24b NIV).

Director and actor Woody Allen once remarked, "I'm afraid of the dark, and suspicious of the light." The Pharisees weren't willing to trust Jesus. They preferred the darkness of their self-righteousness to the light of his message. They were suspicious of him and his message so that when he cast out demons, they said he was in league with the demons himself: "And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.'"(Mark 3:22 NIV).

During Jesus' ministry, the disciples frequently disappointed him with their own lack of faith. And after Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples refused to believe it had happened, even when Mary Magdalene told them: "When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it." (Mark 16:11 NIV). They were frightened by the darkness of their despair but they were suspicious of the good news of his resurrection.

When Peter walked on the water, he was fine at first but then he began to doubt (Matt. 14:25-31). His lack of trust and faith caused him to sink. The light of Jesus' presence wasn't enough to overcome the darkness of Peter's fear. He chose to believe in the darkness of the churning, wind swept water of the Sea of Galilee rather than the light of Jesus' promises. Our lack of faith and trust can cause us to sink too. We don't like the darkness of sin but we're suspicious of the light of God's forgiveness and mercy. We want to walk in the light (1 John 1:7) but we're suspicious of where it might lead us. The darkness of our present life is more comfortable than an uncertain future trusting Jesus.

But if we confess our sin and unbelief, and ask Jesus to come fully into our lives, then others will see our faith in action and they will know that our profession is for real:

"Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." (Psa. 37:5-6 NIV).

Jesus told the disciples to "'Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.'" (John 12:36a NIV). If we "trust in him," then they see the pure, sweet light of Christ shining in our lives; they'll want to abandon their darkness and "walk in the light" with us. God's righteousness will shine in us "like the dawn" and everyone around us will know whose cause we represent.

"'And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'" (Matt. 6:28-34 NIV.)
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Copyright © 2002 by David Phelps