in His grace there are times when He responses to human need
even when faith is absent.
A number of years ago I saw a statement that read something like this, “God doesn’t respond to need, He responses to faith.” There was no further information given so I cannot say what the larger context of this statement was. I am sure that it was it was delivered with good intentions. However, is this statement, as it stands, totally accurate? In the remainder of this article we will consider this question.
Without question faith is important. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believer that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
This clearly shows us that faith is important to God. Its importance in receiving answers to our prayers can be demonstrated from other texts. In the book of James we are told that the person who asks God for wisdom should not expect to receive anything from the Lord if they doubt (James 1:5-7).
On one occasion Jesus told two blind men that they would receive their healing in accordance with their faith (Matthew 9:29). So, faith is important and the Lord does respond to faith. But this is only half of the question that we are considering. Does God ever respond to need?
I believe that the Bible also shows us that God responds to need.
I will give two examples to support this belief, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. If you are familiar with the history of the Israelites after they came out of Egyptian bondage then you know that they were not always the most faith-filled people.
They grumbled in the wilderness and wanted to go back to Egypt. They did not trust God. However, during the forty years in the wilderness, the Lord provided manna for them every day, in spite of their unbelief and rebellion.
Even when they were not spiritually where they should have been with the Lord He took care of them. If He had not they would have died in the wilderness.
In the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament Jesus said concerning the Father, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45b NIV). The Lord supplies the human race with the necessary elements in nature so the people can grow food to eat in order that they can survive in this world. He does this for those who are righteous in His sight, those who have faith, and those who are unrighteous, those who do not demonstrate faith.
This brings us back to the original statement, “God doesn’t respond to need, He responds to faith.” I do not think that this statement is entirely accurate. God does respond to faith. Scripture has supplied us with many examples of that. However, it is also true that in His grace there are times when He responses to human need even when faith is absent.
John P. Lathrop - United States
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.