Hauser: Our only hope for getting better
I am so blessed and thankful to have grown up in North Dakota. The people of the upper Midwest have a strong work ethic with a tough and rugged determination. My son, while at boot camp for the U.S. Army, discovered that not everyone has the same determination and commitment that we learn in this part of the country.
If you grew up in this region, you also learned that the answer to every problem is the same: suck it up, work harder and get over it. And if that doesn't work, drink the problem away. What you don't do is let anyone know you have a problem. You do what you have to do and plow your way through it. And when you don't reveal it to another person, you don't admit it to yourself or to God. But I've discovered it's really tough to live in isolation, hiding that problem when it simply does not, will not, get better.
Jesus once had two men with a huge challenge (they were blind) and they couldn't solve their problem. They rushed up to Jesus to ask for his help. Apparently they didn't grow up in this neck of the woods. Or maybe they were finally desperate enough to reach out to their only hope for getting better, Jesus Christ.
Jesus had just healed a girl with a fairly significant problem...she was dead. When Jesus raised her from the dead, the whole region exploded with curiosity. These two men were blind but not deaf. They heard what Jesus did for this little girl and others and they seized an opportunity to call out to him.
We read their story in Matthew 9 and we learn the kind of faith that moves the heart of God: a faith that believes even when it doesn't see, that persists when nothing changes, and that works even when it doesn't make sense.
Jesus does not respond to their shout, but they do not give up. They follow him indoors and when they approach him, Jesus asks them a question, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They passionately and quickly reply, "Yes, Lord!"
And according to their faith their sight was restored. Our faith does not force God to act, but our faith can move the heart of God. It was not according to their past, their income, their church attendance, their political affiliation, their social or immigration status, or their education that they were healed. It was according to their faith. My faith is not in my faith nor in my works. My faith is in God's faithfulness.
You and I are eligible for God's healing touch. Whatever challenge you are facing today — marriage, career, health, financial, spiritual, addiction issue — do you believe that God is able to hear your prayer and answer on your behalf? Do you believe that God is able to heal a marriage that's gone bad? Do you believe God can help you or your loved one overcome an addiction? Do you believe that the power of God is bigger than the threat of cancer? Prayer should be our first reaction, not our last resort.
God bless you. See you next Sunday!
Hauser is founding and senior pastor, Prairie Heights of Fargo Moorhead. Email firstname.lastname@example.org