By Melissa McLaughlin
Do you remember a time like this? That moment when you needed someone to believe you, to trust you. Perhaps it was an accident and you wanted others to understand what happened. Maybe it was the doctor and you needed him to believe your symptoms. Perhaps someone was giving a different account about an incident that involved you. You told the truth, but how can the listener know this?
This is the deciding moment. The moment when you need someone to believe you. To trust you. To take your word for it.
Think back to a time when someone believed you. What a gift! It is like receiving a longed for and treasured prize. There is a sense of deep connection. A soul-level trust. A knowing and believing in who you are. This kind of belief in another person’s character is a rare commodity, something to be genuinely cherished.
Imagine then, how it moves God’s heart when we believe Him. When we take His word for it. When we trust Him.
He is the God of all eternity. From everlasting to everlasting, He is God. Creator, Master and Sustainer of the universe and beyond. Not one planet, not one molecule is outside His touch or realm of knowing.
When God speaks…it is. His Word is final. We have seen this proven through His Word, the Bible, and through the prophecies which have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The number of prophecies from the Old Testament that were accomplished with utmost precision in Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection are staggering. Here Ron Konig, coauthor of 100 Prophecies, provides a chart with 68 of these fulfilled Biblical prophecies.
When God speaks…it is.
You might think we would find it easy to believe in God and to believe His Word. Yet, somehow, we do not.
We wonder if there is a God. We wonder if God is good. We wonder if God is active or interested in His creation. We wonder if God’s Word, the Bible, is actually true. Okay, maybe some of it, but is the whole Bible true?
Imagine how it moves God’s heart when someone believes. That same way it makes us feel when someone believes us, believes what we are saying, takes our word for it. Surely, God experiences something like that, too.
Part of the Christmas story that captures my heart are the people who believed. I find it stunningly beautiful and deeply inspiring. They believed God’s Word, delivered through angels, dreams, the Holy Spirit and the stirring of their bodies and souls.
In Luke chapter 1, Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth became pregnant at an age far past what was reasonable. Elizabeth did not think this was merely “good luck” or a “fluke of nature”. Elizabeth believed it was the work of God and God alone. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:24-25
Because Zechariah did not believe the message of the angel Gabriel, that his wife would bear a son, his mouth was shut by the Lord and Zechariah was unable to speak until she gave birth. The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1:19-20
Later in chapter 1 of Luke, the angel Gabriel brought a message to Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary. She, too, would be with child, but through a move of the Holy Spirit. Even more incredibly, she would give birth to the Messiah, the Savior, Jesus the Christ. Mary asked only one question, how God would accomplish this demonstrating even then her belief, unlike Zechariah who asked how he could be sure or believe the message of the angel.
When the angel spoke to Mary, her response was quiet, uncluttered belief. The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:35-38
As miraculous as Elizabeth and Mary’s pregnancies were, so was their faith. Pure, true, certain belief in God, His character and the truth of His Word.
To further highlight this profound response, as the story continues in Luke chapter 1, Mary set off to visit Elizabeth and when Mary arrived, this was Elizabeth’s heart’s cry. You believed, Mary! You believed!
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:39-45
How precious in the sight of God was their belief! My heart trembles at these words again today and I pray that yours does, as well.
There are many reasons to believe. When we step outside and behold the grandeur, complexity, patterns and balance of creation, how could we believe this happened by chance? The heavens and the earth proclaim God’s glory! Adding to this, Christianity is the only belief system in which God came to us and made it possible for us to join Him in heaven. Every other belief system requires mankind to work his or way to heaven. That alone shouts of truth. But the prophecies. The prophecies of Jesus that were fulfilled should stop honest thinkers in their tracks. How else could this be accounted for, except that the Bible is true. The Bible is unique in all of literature. The Bible is self-validating.
This Christmas, may our heart’s cry be like Elizabeth and Mary’s: Blessed is she who has believed!
For in the end, it all comes down to believing. The Christian faith began with Abraham, who believed God and it was counted as righteousness (Hebrews 11). Today is no different. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
The only thing God requires of us… is that we believe. Mind you, this is a belief that is life-transforming. But it all begins with belief.
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:31
Lord of all creation, give me a fresh vision of your majesty, your power, your sovereignty and your truth. Help me gain a right perspective of myself as small, yet loved by the One whose hands formed me and then hung on a cross for me. Oh God, make my heart like Elizabeth and Mary’s. Let me believe you. Completely. Deeply. Certainly. Humbly. Wholly. For you are God. What You say…is. Your Word is true. May I bow down low that I may see You in all Your glory, that I am overcome with faith and belief. Pure and true. May my sure and strong belief in You and Your Word, move Your heart today. Give me childlike faith that I may please you. When Jesus returns, may I be found faithful. In Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.
If you are struggling to believe in Jesus, ask God, with a sincere heart, to show you the truth and He will. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Please check out the teaching of my friend, Lisa Quintana, as well. She explains more about why we, as followers of Christ, believe what we believe. Here is Lisa’s recent post The Blinding god of This Age.