Today’s word is FAITH! When I hear it I think of a loaded weapon. When we are “armed” with it the world CHANGES!
I’m going to tell you a really great story that will seem unbelievable to you, but first I have to preface it with a definition. Word girl, you know.
Faith-(dictionary definition) strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence.
Some of us have learned to define it this way: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
We need to ask, believing and without seeing, and then He gives us the proof of it when He answers!
Many times in my life I have asked God to do something just for me, and because He loves me He did it! Christian and I have laid hands on our children and prayed and asked God to do His work and fevers broke under our hands. I couldn’t even list all the times that the ends didn’t look like they could meet and God sent us a check in the mail. Earaches, gone! Fear, gone! The list of things is really endless.
Every time, I was required to step forward without “proof” that He would catch me. Just like Moses at the edge of the Red Sea. Do you think he felt any apprehension at the moment when he had to stretch his hand out and wait for God to move the water with the bad guys right behind him and his family and so many others needing this to work?
Or how about Peter when Jesus asked him to step out on the water? Imagine yourself at that moment in front of folks you know, stepping out onto WATER. Do you think he wondered if it would work?
Doubt capsizes faith.
So here’s the story. Believe it or don’t.
We took a 13 week RV trip in 2010. That was a faith story all by itself. Leaving for an unknown period of time in an ’88 untested motorhome with a couple hundred dollars in the account, planning to trek across the country to get to 13 states that were not exactly next to each other at 5 miles per gallon required some faith, let me tell ya! And God met every need, and we had the time of our lives!!!
One of our planned stops was in Arizona to meet Addie’s best friend that she had met via a Christian website years ago when we were working with our youth group. As a birthday present we took Addie to meet Hannah. Our families instantly became joined by spirit and we had an amazing time beginning our friendship. While at their home they told us a story about someone they knew who had visited a college where a girl was hanging posters and ran out of tape mid-job. She, for whatever reason, asked God to help her stick the poster to the wall using a penny. And He did! Other students saw this poster stuck with pennies and they asked God to stick their pennies to the wall, and He did! Pennies now line the walls of that school.
Well, we thought that was pretty cool and we were challenged in our faith when our new friends’ nine year old son said, “Let’s do it right now!”. So, we reached into our pockets, and pulled out pennies, and did what anyone would do and let the kids try first! :o) Another testament to the beauty of childlike faith. All six of our kids began praying that God would use their faith to stick their pennies to walls, and He did! Excitement began to build. There was money on drywall! Why? Because we asked and God can.
It wasn’t long before the parents joined in. Can I tell you how daunting it is to stand at a wall in front of expectant people and ask God to break physical laws? I thought I might be the first one to not have enough faith for it to work. At first, my penny didn’t stick. I tried again. It stuck a few seconds. I tried again, and there it was.
It wasn’t long and the walls were lined with pennies. This was not enough for our ecstatic group. The kids began using dimes, nickels, and then quarters. They stuck them to wood trim, metal hinges, and even the ceiling! Even a wedding ring was used to prove God’s power.
Again, you might be wondering why, and you might be trying to explain it away with some rational explanation, but I’m telling you, it was used at that time to increase our faith because God knew we would soon need to know what He is capable of. And most of all because He loves us and gave us a demonstration of Matthew 7:9, “Which one of you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone?”.
We have shared this story with several people since then and have had many responses. Some went home and tried it themselves (and then sent us pictures from their cell phones of walls decorated with pennies). Some left and I’m sure chalked it up to ‘those crazy Kirkseys’. Some rejoiced at how awesome God is and have pondered it.
One night we went to play Euchre at our dear friends, Tom and Jeanne’s house. We hadn’t seen them since before the trip, and so we were catching up and telling trip stories. At some point late in the evening, I told the penny story, and my friend Jeanne looked at me and said, “I wanna do it, right now!”. I looked at Christian and he looked at me and I know we were both thinking, “I really hope this works!” but, we threw doubt out the window, and I stood up and said, “Let’s do it!”. We grabbed some pennies and marched over to the wall and I prayed and asked God to let my penny stick, and it fell to the floor. Tried again. Nothing. Jeanne walked up next to me and prayed, and there was her penny, stuck beautifully to the wall. I will never forget her face in that moment when her God gave her her very own miracle. The two kids that were present, Kyrsten and Tracer, got excited and began sticking dozens of coins all over the house. Pretty soon, all of us had once again seen a miracle by God’s power under our own hand.
Faith is law.
Well, we left that night pretty excited to have seen God honor Jeanne’s faith. She went to Bible study the next night and in her excitement, out came the story. She got several reactions. Some wanted to try it right then. They did, and no pennies stuck. Then, one guy felt the need to inject some doubt and called it static electricity. Jeanne’s faith was tested., pretty severely. In the days to come some of the pennies at her house would sporadically drop off the walls. Her son would instantly run up, pray, and the penny would be stuck. Jeanne was emailing me and telling me that she didn’t even want to try. I encouraged her and told her that I’m sure that when Peter went home after he went water skating he tried to tell his family all about it. I’m sure some of his family chuckled, or doubted, or rationalized it away. Or maybe some sneaked out to the sea to see if they could do it! In every crowd, at every miracle Jesus did (and still does), there are skeptics, spectators, and seekers. The skeptics strike out at those around them in their frustration, the spectators sit out and miss out, and the seekers stretch out and claim their miracle.*
Several weeks later, I received an email from Jeanne and I am going to quote her because she tells it best.
Last week two pennies fell off the wall and I was impatient and frustrated as well, that they had fallen. So I tried putting one back up, knowing full well I was in a hurry and not in the “zone” so to speak. Of course it didn’t stay and I left it alone.
Easter Sunday: my nephew and his girlfriend asked what all the coins were about on the wall in the hall. So Tracer and I explained and my nephew was like “show me” and it was more of a joke. So I said “all you have to do is have faith and pray and it’ll stay.” So I put the dime on the wall under my thumb and wouldn’t you know it, amidst my house full of guests, potatoes boiling over on the stove, my dad wanting to know where the carving knife is, I closed my eyes, said a little “show him, God” and the darn dime stayed on the wall and I walked away as if it was the most normal, natural thing in the world – grinning on the outside, dancing on the inside!
My nephew was in total jaw-dropping shock and he of course tried it and his wouldn’t stay up. But he is a comedian so he wasn’t really into it when he closed his eyes to pray – it looked more like he was meditating. My brother (his dad) said it was impossible for a penny to stay up by itself, there was no explanation. So I said it was all having faith that God would make it stay. He was floored. Everyone else in the house was too busy to realize what was going on. Tom was just smiling.
So there you have it. A great story, huh? I need to say a couple things. First, it’s not a magic trick. I get pretty angry with folks who like to treat God like a genie in a bottle. He has specific purpose for when He chooses to do things and why He chooses to do them. I believe the pennies are a miracle meant to be used as a testimony. Those who have had pennies stick to walls needed it right then, and He obviously knew that.
It may not always happen. Wrong motives, wrong timing, I don’t know all the reasons, but I just needed to say that.
If you do let Him stick some money to some drywall, please give Him all the credit. He loves to hear our amazement with Him. It can ONLY happen because He said so, so please, thank Him. And lastly, tell the world about it! I know that I’d love to hear about it! Consider sharing this blog with people you know who need a boost of faith. After all, we overcome by the word of our testimony!
And then, let’s all move forward believing for even greater miracles from an all-powerful God.
Stretch out! Be a seeker! What do you have to lose?
It’s the best way I’ve ever spent a handful of change!
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 The Message
Footnote–Kyrsten’s penny still remains stuck to the Acosta’s wall in Arizona over six months later!
*Paraphrased from a sermon given by Pastor Sam Rijfkogel Grand Rapids First Assembly