Summary: When God doesn’t meet their expectations, some people are absolutely devastated spiritually. This devastation The is the predictable result of having placed their trust in the myth that if we have enough faith, we can do or fix anything.
“Faith Can Fix Anything”
Hebrews 11:1, 6, 32-39
Before we get started on today’s message, I want to read you a “thank you” letter. Our ladies ministry, Joyous Ministries, did a ministry project where they took new or gently-used purses and filled them with things to bless the women at the women’s shelter in Danville. They filled the purses with hygiene products and other items. This letter comes from the organization that runs the shelter. (Read letter.) I just want to thank those ladies who participated in this ministry.
Last week, we began a new series of messages called Mythbusters. We are looking at spiritual urban legends, spiritual myths, that people subscribe to but are actually untrue. These spiritual myths are dangerous. They are based on flawed assumptions and false information. They are presumed to be maxims that are common knowledge but they’re not based on fact. They’re fictitious and deceitful.
Take your Bibles and turn to the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews. We’re going to spend some time in this chapter a little bit later in the message. Last week, we looked at some introductory principles. Today, I want us to look at the spiritual myth that says: Faith can fix anything.
I’ve seen the scenario I’m about to describe enough times that I’m not surprised by it. A wife, husband, or child is lying in a hospital bed. The prognosis is not good but the husband, wife, or parent has not faced reality. Their loved one doesn’t have long for this world but they’re convinced that God is going to do something miraculous.
Don’t get me wrong. God can heal and God has healed people and God still does heal. I believe in the power of faith but faith can’t fix everything. Yet, this family member is totally convinced that their loved one is going to come through this deadly illness or traumatic injury.
Sometimes, these people who were so sure that their faith in what God could do would cause God to make everything all right according to their wishes. Therein lays the problem. God doesn’t do everything according to our wishes.
When God doesn’t meet their expectations, some people are absolutely devastated spiritually. And for quite a long time – sometimes years and years, they are disillusioned with God. Prayer and faith are no longer important to them.
Their spiritual meltdown has absolutely nothing to do with God letting them down. It has nothing to do with Bible promises being empty. The spiritual meltdown is the predictable result of having placed their trust in one of the most widely-believed spiritual urban legends: the myth that if we have enough faith, we can do or fix anything.
Unfortunately, this particular concept of faith (what it is and how it operates) does not come from the Bible. It comes from pop psychology and from bad theology. Those who try to live their life according to this concept of faith have banked on a set of assumptions and beliefs that simply are not true and they have been let down.
What faith is not:
1. Faith is not the power of positive thinking.
2. Faith is not wishful dreaming.
3. Faith is not creative visualization
4. Faith is not denying reality.
5. Faith is not positive confession.
While faith can incorporate some of those elements, individually they do not define faith. There is an incorrect idea that faith is a potent mixture of intellectual and emotional self-control that when properly utilized can literally change outcomes through positive thinking and clear visualization.
This idea of faith is basically the mantra of success gurus who tout such things as their key to achievement. Some survivors of great tragedies have cited it as their source of endurance. Televangelists credit this formula with healing power. Motivational speakers make lucrative livings espousing such concepts.
It is the very reason why, when our team is down 12 runs and has two outs in the ninth inning that we are not supposed to think negatively. Instead, we’re supposed to hang tough and visualize a big inning. Because as long as we really believe we can win, there is a good chance we will.
It works the same way in a medical crisis. The tests have come back showing the cancer has metastasized. But hey, don’t panic. It can be beat. All you have to do is think positive thoughts.
Maybe someone has a son who is five-foot two, a senior in high school with aspirations of playing in the NBA. Whatever you do, don’t discourage him. Who knows? It could happen. After all, nothing is impossible as long as he pursues his dreams with hard work and an unwavering faith.
Sadly, this kind of hopeful thinking has nothing in common with what the Bible calls faith. Faith distorted becomes faith in faith rather than faith in God. Yet, it’s what many of us have been taught to believe God wants from us when we’re confronted with insurmountable odds.