June 8, 1783 will always be remembered in Iceland. On that fateful day a 26 kilometer (16 mile) fissure cracked open in the volcano called Laki, and over 37 cubic meters (9 cubic miles) of lava erupted over the southern region of the island. This eruption, which lasted for nearly eight months, would have repercussions all over world. (Read more about it in an upcoming devotional called The Skaftár Fires).
One humble pastor faced this adversity with dignity. Though given the opportunity to leave, Jón Steingrímsson remained behind with his parishioners, dispensing food and money, even though thick ash clouds created perpetual darkness and winter-like conditions that lasted nearly a year. Even though he lost his beloved wife and many close friends to the ravages of this eruption, he continued to put his trust in the One who he called his friend: Jesus Christ Himself.
One day a huge wall of lava was heading straight to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, his hometown. It didn’t stop him from having conducting a church service, however. He preached with passion that day, and his discourse, which we now call the “Fire Mass”, will never be forgotten. He concluded the service by saying, “Let us pray to God in correct piety, that He in His grace will not want destroy us in haste. Each and every one pray without fear. Each and every one be ready to die if it pleases Him. Not in ours, but Your name do we praise glory.”
As the members left their humble congregation, they were amazed to see that the lava had changed its course, thus sparing the town. Jón’s prayers had been answered.
We may wonder if this was pure coincidence. Maybe the lava flow would have changed its course no matter what. Jón had no doubt, however, that his prayer of faith had been answered by God Himself.
Faith without doubting can truly stop anything, even the unstoppable!
But why would we even wonder if this was pure coincidence? Do we doubt that God can come through for us? Have we reached the end times where doubt is the norm and the miraculous seems to be a fable of the past?
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NIV)
Do we allow our hearts to be troubled from time to time? Or perhaps MOST of the time?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1 NIV)
When Jesus uttered these words in Luke 18:8, is it possible that he was referring to our lack of trust in His ability to provide for our needs? Is it possible that all the worry we cultivate on a daily basis is separating us from the One who can and will come through for us? Has our faith turned into a mere facade ? Have we sacrificed our faith in the Almighty on the altar of worry?
When the Son of Man comes back, will He find us filled with faith and trusting in His providence? Or will He instead find us with troubled hearts, worrying about things He has already promised to take care of?
The huge wall of lava was stopped, not by coincidence, but by faith. Our perspective on worldly matters will either build up our trust in the Almighty or leave us troubled to the core.
Our God is bigger than all of our circumstances combined. If walls of lava can be stopped by faith, nothing will ever be impossible to us, as the Almighty is at our side! “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31 NIV)
Even gigantic walls of doubt can be broken by faith!
“I better get out of here! It’s getting way too hot to my taste!”
Maybe this is your opportunity to show in whom you put your trust!
(To access the entire “Jesus’ Deepest Desires” devotional series, please click here.)