"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7: 7-8.
It's a worrying moment when you ask for something in the name of Jesus, taking his words as literally as you can because you believe the bible is true and Jesus is real, and then it doesn't happen. Cue mini-faith-crisis.
Is it ok to say that? Well I have. And I work for a Christian charity and am a leader in church.
When I went with three student mates on Escape and Pray, an adventure of faith, putting ourselves way out of our comfort zones, disabling our ability to provide for our needs without God, and changing our priorities to bless others with no personal gain attached, I had a few mini-faith-crisis moments.
We asked God for food to eat and a place to stay. We even used the magic words 'in the name of Jesus', but nothing happened. When you haven't eaten in twelve hours, and you're tired, it's 11pm, it's dark and the police are telling you to get off the streets because city centre Milan isn't a place for four girls to stay out over night, and the only hostel anywhere close is called "The Devil", this is the perfect climate for a mini-faith-crisis.
In our culture of comfort, our safety net of student loans and overdrafts, our wonderful but very hands-on-still-super-involved-into-our-twenties parenting, the space for God to provide, the opportunity for genuine moments of reliance on Him alone, becomes almost impossible.
Escape and pray provided just such an opportunity to re-calibrate what we are made for: to live fully alive in God and fully reliant on God.
If we've never risked our reputations, never stepped outside of our comfort zones, never done anything that scares us but tastes of exactly the kind of life Jesus calls us to live, we are unlikely to have experienced either a mini-faith-crisis, or the crucial, all important, over-coming moment. Without a little crisis, how will we ever know if God is good for his word? If we've never not been in control of the results, how are we meant to live what we say we believe: that God knows better, God has a plan, God will make a way?
If the disciples had never been in a storm and freaked out that they were all going to drown, whilst Jesus seemed to be doing nothing but sleep right through the drama as they called for help, would they have ever got all the way though their faith-crisis and into seeing Jesus reveal himself to be God on earth, as he commanded creation to chill out and calmed the storm?
In crisis we call on Jesus to be who he says he is. And through this experience we find answers we didn't even realise we needed, break-through as unexpected as Jesus was, and as God works outside of the box we try to pray him into, we end up being given more faith.
In our case, on escape and pray, we ended up being given a gorgeous apartment to live in, a bed each, hot showers, all hosted by an Italian mamma who is a professional chef and cake baker. Oh and she happened to have also asked Jesus to provide an angel to keep her company at home because of the loneliness she felt whilst her family were all away. Ask and you shall receive four angels perhaps....
This week is the early bird deadline to get yourself on this year's escape and pray adventure. My invitation to you is to take God at his word and find Jesus in your mini-faith-crisis moments. Get some mates, get to an airport, find yourself reliant on God and come home changed for the better. Watch him calm storms, split seas and provide in remarkable ways.