Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few. 1 Samuel 14:6
Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
I’m reading a spy novel – some summer pleasure reading – in which the protagonists are hard at each other. Subterfuge, deceit, elaborate plans, and technology versus human assets are all aligned against each other. Although I’m 80% finished with the book, I’m not certain how it will turn out. This author is not wedded to happily-ever-after denouements. I am sufficiently drawn in to the story to hope that the good guy wins, but that remains to be seen. The forces of evil are strong, and willing to unleash the vilest of weapons for their purposes.
With God, however, there is no doubt as to the outcome of his help and purposes for our good. Jonathan makes this claim in the midst of a most significant context. He has hatched a plan to defeat the Philistines. As he is explaining his plan to his armor bearer, he makes the startling statement which actually proceeds this quote above:
“Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” – 1 Samuel 14:6
Jonathan’s comment, “It may be,” echoes a reality we all face whenever we call on God in prayer. There is no doubt of God’s ability to help us. The question most of us face is not “Can God save us?” but rather, “Will God save us?”
Faith makes all the difference. But faith is not something we gin up in a flurry of religious fervor. Such faith is a gift of God – as is all faith. Whether it is heroic faith or saving faith, without God’s Holy Spirit any belief in God’s help and intervention is wishful thinking. That is not the stuff of true confidence in God’s saving help. This is the faith of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. It’s the essence of the four men who let their friend down through the hole in the roof so that Jesus would heal him. It is the faith of Martha who said to Jesus, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you” (John 11:22).
This is a mystery. I’ve experienced such faith very few times in my life. I wasn’t trying to manipulate God, or put him in a corner. In one particular instance, I was simply completely confident that he was going to answer my prayer in behalf of a couple who were struggling in their marriage.
Such a faith starts with a complete confidence in God’s ability to answer prayer, and a belief that God cannot be thwarted in his saving work. It is bolstered in the confidence of God’s goodness, grace and good will toward us – shown most fully in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Precious are those moments when we are given the faith to believe that he will help in our time of need.