While walking up a country road in New Jersey, I had a good talk with my Lord. I cried, "Lord, I can't live with fear and worry of all kinds. I want to face whatever the future holds with rest, joy and simple trust! I want total freedom from all fear and worry!"
The Holy Spirit quickened me: "The key to freedom from all fear and worry is found in two words — sparrows and hair. Remember what I said in Matthew 10:28-33. 'One of them (sparrows) shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered'" (verses 29-30).
It sounds so elementary, so very simple — but what Jesus tells us here is very profound.
Out of 9,000 species of birds, God singled out the sparrow to reference in his Word. Sparrows are wonderfully made, their thin, small bones are strong and specially equipped for flying. In fact, modern science still cannot copy the intricate wing system that allows them to migrate up to three thousand miles. God designed every bone, every feather — and he counted every one of them.
Every hair on our heads is counted by our Father in heaven. Between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs blanket the average human head and even those who are bald have the vellus variety hair which is unseen by the human eye. God made hair useful — eyebrows keep sweat out of our eyes and eyelashes protect our eyelids when dust or tiny insects get too near. Tiny hairs in the ears and nose filter out incoming particles. Every hair is a cylinder of cells that has tunneled deep into the skin to reach the blood vessels that nourish it.
It’s no wonder David said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” (Psalm 139:14). Being mindful of the intricate design of God’s creation should make us even more attentive to our heavenly Father’s watchful care of us. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Matthew 6:34). He knows what we need and will gladly supply it.
“One of the rulers of the synagogue … fell at [Jesus’] feet and begged Him earnestly saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live’” (Mark 5:22).
When this ruler, Jairus, ran to Jesus, he was affirming true faith: “Lord, all my daughter needs is you. You have all power and you can keep her from dying!” Jairus represents most of Christianity. We know Christ is our only hope, and in our times of crisis we run to him, fall at his feet, and seek his mercy and help. Responding to the faith of Jairus, “Jesus went with him” (verse 24).
Even while his heart was filled with great hope, Jairus also may have been struck by a terrible thought: “What if we’re too late? It’s wonderful to have Jesus by my side, but we need time. We need Jesus and time!” Most likely the people looking on said among themselves, “Jesus is the great physician but he’d better hurry — she may die at any minute.” And what happened? The little girl died!
Why did Jesus permit time to run out? Because he wanted his followers to have faith in his resurrection power — faith that goes beyond hopelessness, beyond even death! “Some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (5:35). And Jesus instantly said, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (5:36).
Jesus never gives up on the dead! Walking right into a terrible scene of confusion, doubt and fear, he proclaimed words of life: “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (5:41).
Is there great commotion and upheaval in your life? Grieving? Confusion? Oppression? It could be because you do not believe that Jesus can resurrect what is dead. Believe that Jesus knows what he is doing; he has a life-giving plan for you, so don’t give up. Jesus will work a miracle if you will trust in his Word.
“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright” (Psalm 20:6-8).
Total trust in the Lord can change your life! It takes faith to believe that God is always at work on your behalf. Yet, the Word says that even the demons believe (see James 2:19) but their belief is mere mental agreement, not a genuine saving faith. Satan and his underlings are more aware of God’s reality than most people, yet the demons are certainly not saved. The kind of faith that saves us is the kind that changes us.
As we walk with the Lord, we can be full of questions; we can even have doubts. Why does God allow suffering? Why do bad things happen to good families? Why does it seem to take so long for God to answer our prayers? God longs to do a deeper work in us. He wants to take us beyond just a set of beliefs (traditions, doctrinal issues) and fill our hearts with a complete and total trust in him.
When we are tempted to doubt, we can say, “Help my unbelief, Lord. But until my belief becomes full, I choose to trust you.” We may doubt certain things at times, but the Lord always takes care of that. He reveals the truth, shows the way, and confirms the truth. In the midst of our struggle, during our greatest doubt, God puts something in our hearts. He lets us know that he is good all the time and always trustworthy. We can trust his holiness, his splendor, his grandeur, his majesty, his love.
I urge you to resolve your issue of trust today. Your faith may be shaken, but your Rock is still there. Say to your Father, “God, no matter what comes, I have determined that I will trust in you.”
Jesus said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit is God’s agent on earth, yet he is the least understood, least preached about, and least discussed member of the Trinity. And that is sad because without him, our spiritual lives will become a dry, mechanical struggle. There is nothing that will change your prayer life, your study of God’s Word, and your experience during worship in church more than inviting the Spirit to join you in a new way.
Examples of the Holy Spirit’s work often appear in accounts of the early church. Unfortunately, today many of us have gotten used to doing without the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and churches. Consider these honest questions:
There is only one thing more powerful than seeing the Spirit work in someone else’s life, and that is seeing him work in yours. If you want power, confidence, joy, peace, and more love in your life, ask the Spirit to come and do something new in you.
Everything we read about the church in the New Testament centered on the power of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of Christian believers. They believed in Christ’s word, they expected the Spirit to do great things, and he came through as promised. And the good news is: he will do the same for you today!
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
Did you waste years before you repented and surrendered all to Jesus? You may think, “I could have been so much deeper in Christ. I could have brought so much joy to his heart. I can never make up all those wasted years.”
We all want to make up to God our lost years, to make amends and repay him. But he says, “I will make it up to you! You can’t repay me for a single wasted hour, so walk before me in righteousness and turn from your sins. I will make up all the losses, regardless of whether they are yours, your family’s or others.”
To repentant sinners, the Lord declares, “Fear not … be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things!” (Joel 2:21).
You do not need to be ashamed of your wasted years. You were born for his eternal purposes. He planned for you a life of satisfaction, joy and usefulness in his kingdom, but God’s plan for your life was interrupted by the devourer.
But now, in Christ, all is new! The Lord goes back to the day the locust came and he starts counting again from the moment you repented. All those blessings you missed were stored up, and all the joy and peace you thought gone forever were actually kept by the Lord.
Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
You may feel pangs of remorse for your wasted time, and memories will keep you humble, but in God’s eyes, your past is a dead issue. Your loving Father says, “Forget the past and press on to what I have promised you.”