Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
The story of the fig tree that was cursed by Jesus and withered is among the strange stories we find in the Bible. It is followed by the admonition to have faith in God, which is an important and reasonable admonition. What follows has troubled a lot of people. Jesus says that if you have enough faith, you can move mountains and whatever you ask for in prayer, it will be yours.
Through the years I have known people who have beaten themselves up because they prayed for healing or the healing of another and when that healing didn’t happen, they believed it was their fault for not having sufficient faith. So, how are we to understand these words from Mark 11?
Faith is powerful—no question. It can help us to accomplish great things. The idea of faith moving mountains has even made it into our common everyday speech. Yet, our experience with prayer leads us to understand that prayer places God at the center of our minds and lives. Prayer reminds us that we are surrounded by God’s love and grace and that no matter what—to use Paul’s words—nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
What does prayer mean for you in your life? How do you understand the power of faith?
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster