Originally published Thursday, 06 February 2014.
Receive healing, God told me. I've already given it to you. You simply needed to receive it.
"Okay. I receive," I prayed, trying to will myself to receive.
But nothing happened.
"I receive your healing," I prayed with greater passion, "I receive!"
"I don't get it," I complained to God. "I'm trying to receive! What am I doing wrong?"
Months and months passed, and I continued to try to will myself into a position of receiving yet saw no indication that God was moving. I was stumped.
I have a hard time receiving, in general. Especially from other people. But I do know how to receive from people. It's pretty cut and dry. To receive from people, you simply take what's been given to you. But how do you receive from God? Though I know all we have is ultimately from God, the gifts we are to receive from Him are not often tangible, which makes receiving God's gifts a bit more tricky.
As I wrestled with God in an attempt to understand receiving, I came to see that we are to receive by faith.
Does that mean we try harder and harder to garner enough faith to receive blessing from God? Absolutely not. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I had spent a considerable amount of time trying to will myself into a place of greater faith as well, and let me tell you, it didn't work because faith, itself, is a gift from God that we are to receive.
In Matthew 21:22, Jesus said, "Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” So, we need faith to receive.
But what if we lack faith? What do we do then?
I believe that's the perfect time to lean into God and pray, as the apostles prayed, "Increase our faith!" with believing hearts, confident that Jesus will deliver (Luke 17:5, Mark 11:24). For, Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, and He is sure to answer prayers driven by belief. But even if you lack belief, He will meet you there as well. Like the desperate father whose daughter was dying in scripture, we pray, "I believe," while laying ourselves bare before God––admitting unbelief––saying, "help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). Jesus honors faith, no matter how small. And He is faithful to give ample amounts of faith to those who ask.
I have come a long way in this last year of growth. Though I'm far from having it all figured out, I have learned a lot about how to receive.
The other day, I was writing the sixth chapter of my book––a chapter that I have been writing and rewriting for some time. I knew I was close to finishing the chapter, but if you know anything about the writing process, there are no certainties. According to my experience, more often than not, a writer needs set aside two to three times more time to finish a piece than they think.
Anyway, after writing for a few hours, I decided to take a break. I walked out my front door into the brisk but sunny day and let the sun shine on my face. There's something about the warm light of the sun beaming upon my face that reminds me of God––it feels like His face is shining upon mine. After a moment enjoying the presence of God, I said, "Okay, God. You ready? Let's do this." I walked back in my office with complete faith and assurance that He and I would finish this chapter before I needed to pick up my girls from school.
I sat at my computer, typing away, for another couple hours. And I finished, just in time to go get my little lovelies.
I tell this story because I believe it exemplifies the posture of receiving that God has taught me. It wasn't long ago that I wrestled with receiving altogether, but God has brought me to a place of faith and trust in Him, so much so, that the times I fall out of faith and trust are very few in comparison to the times I rest in them.
My time writing with God the other day was driven by my faith in a good God. I wasn't striving like I have been known to in the past. I wasn't trying to will myself into a place of faith and receiving, but instead, I was given grace to receive by believing God through faith. By receiving the ability to accomplish what I set out to do that day.
Life is characterized by giving and receiving. Apart from God's gifts, we would have nothing. In fact, we would not even exist. For life, itself, is a gift from God. But we must understand that just because God has given us a gift, it doesn't mean we have received it. Very few of us have received and are living within all of our gifts. So, I encourage you, today, to pray for God to show you what you have yet to receive.
Some of you may question what these gifts are, so I compiled a short list for you. I may have missed some gifts, and if I have, you're welcome to add them in the comments, but this is what came to my mind.
God has given every Christ-follower:
- The right to be a child of God
- The Word of God
- The Holy Spirit
- The ability to be patient, kind, good, faithful, and gentle
- The ability to have self-control
- Various gifts and talents to be used to build up the Church, minister to non-believers, and bring God glory
- A call on their life
Now, by faith with thanksgiving and a believing heart, receive what you've been given.