When Rick and I traveled to Marrakech, Morocco a few years back, we stayed in a traditional riad in old medina. A riad is a Moroccan home that opens inward into a garden courtyard.
Our meals were eloquently served while we engaged in conversation with other guests who were also staying in the riad. Most conversations included the previous days adventures and what was planned for the day. After being filled, we all went our separate ways.
After a long day of sightseeing, the group slowly made their way back to the riad and one-by-one we gathered into a sitting area to enjoy the traditional hot, brewed tea with fresh mint and plenty of sugar. After a few hours sharing our daily travel excursions, our new friends decided it was time to grab a local delicacy. Boiled sheep's head.
We ventured a few steps into the old city square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, where there’s the constant sounds of the pitter-patter of donkeys, carts, honking of cars and motorcycles. The rush of pedestrians and peddlers, who by the way, don’t have the right of way. It is not an exaggeration to say you’re risking your life when you step into the square. If you aren’t watching your step for animal feces you’re doing your best to stay away from moving vehicles, snake charmers, monkeys, fire-eaters, and much more.
The seven of us found seats in the midst of the “organized” chaos and the cooks proudly dished every part of the sheep's head into a few, community dishes with one plate of salt and pepper for dipping. What I considered cooked meat was tender and pulled apart like pork or lamb. A few plates included what I considered uncooked, slimy skin and I was a bit concerned what it would do to my digestive track. My husband reassured me it was cooked thoroughly. "Just add salt to remove the bacteria," he told me. I trusted him.
Marrakech wasn’t a place to expect the comforts of home. If I had been fickle, waiting for something as simple as silverware, I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my travels. I had to set aside what I was accustomed to, have faith in my husband, and choose to try something new.
Faith in God is as simple as that.
Hebrews 11:6 states “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The Word also states “with God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:27)
This is a bit wordy, but stay with me. If impossible means that something cannot exist, happen, unable to be done, performed, effected, then what can become possible in our lives if we don’t first please God?
And, if God rewards us for our faith, then it would seem that in order for us to receive the impossible that is promised in Luke, we have a responsibility to do something before we will be rewarded. Our faith is futile and our miracles are unfulfilled until we first believe and act on the instructions in Hebrews. Can something come into existence when we don’t please God?
I believe it is in pleasing God that turns our impossibilities into possibilities.
Expecting God to do what doesn’t exist doesn’t always look the way we are accustomed to. No matter the dynamics that may shake us up, an unshakeable faith remains steadfast that God will take care of us.
I am encouraged by the story of the woman who was plagued with a blood disease for twelve years. Her disease was growing worse and no doctor was able to help her. Matthew 9;20-22 Mark 5:25-34 Luke 8:43-48
It’s my understanding during Biblical times those that had any kind of skin disease or blood issues were cast out. If they dared enter the city gates the people would yell, “unclean, unclean, unclean.”
The woman heard of Jesus. She took a risk crawling on her hands and knees through the city gates and amongst the crowds.
I imagine she used all of her strength to drag her weak body along the uneven, rocky streets staring at dirty feet and the hem of peoples robes. From her vantage point, the faces of most would have been hidden or partially visible
I envision her hands being stepped on more than once while people yelled at her to get out of the way. Was it as chaotic as Morocco? Dodging donkeys, carts, feces, and trash?
Despite the pain and shame, her faith kept her from turning back. From the moment she crawled through the gate and into the crowded streets, her faith was steadfast. She was looking for one specific robe and even though she couldn’t see THE hem, she didn’t give up.
“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed,” she said. Mark 5:28
She saw it! She reached out and touched the hem of his robe! When the healing power of Jesus was released, Jesus then looked at her and said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34
Unlike today, many want what they are accustomed to. They require the pastor, the prophet, the teacher, the evangelist to lay hands on them to be healed. The woman didn’t need to hear from the lips of Jesus, “you’re healed.” She simply believed his presence was sufficient.
She pleased him first and Jesus rewarded her because she earnestly sought him out. The impossible became possible. Hebrews 11:6.
Jesus is all-knowing and I believe he knew a woman of faith was coming behind him. I like to think he began pacing and waiting for her to catch up to provide what he had promised to anyone who believed: “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened.” Matthew 11:28
Her faith to believe in Jesus was greater than her shame.Isaiah 61:3
After twelve years in isolation, I don’t think she rushed home that day. I bet she strolled through the crowded streets, taking in the sounds and the smells in an entirely new way. She welcomed what was unfamiliar and what she was no longer accustomed to.
Can you imagine what would have happened if she had a fickle faith? If she had the mindset that she must have Jesus lay hands on her? That there was a specific format to receive the healing of God?
Trusting God isn’t a fickle faith that changes like the weather. We choose to be fickle about the foods we eat and the clothes we wear, but when it comes to faith, picking and choosing what and how we want God to do things isn’t faith.
When I find myself doubting God, I know that I’m not pleasing him. The thought of it pains me and I know it pains God.
When we need God to do the impossible in our lives, may we reach for the “hem of his garment.” May we rest believing it’s enough to be in his presence. I believe he is pacing, waiting for us to catch up to him.
How not to be a fickle Christian.
Believe that God exist. Hebrews 11:6
Live to please God. I Thessalonians 4:1-2 and Hebrews 11:6
What are you doing that you know isn’t pleasing God? I John 1:8-10
Believe God has your best interest in mind. Romans 8:28
What do you have to risk to receive the impossible? (Peter walked on water.) Matthew 14:29
Don’t give up. It may feel like you are crawling, but moving forward is progress. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Look for THE hem and seek God’s presence. Psalm 16:11
Possibilities end where they begin - pleasing God and believing. These two are never absent of the Christian walk of faith.
I leave you with this to ponder and evaluate: If we don’t have faith to believe God will help us with our unseen, unmet needs, how can we believe God will use us to help the needs of others?
Additional reading: Faith is Works and Words