I recently spent some time talking with friends about the withered fig tree in Mark 11. We were a little stumped by the placement of this section and the meaning it was supposed to convey. I’m still unsure about this whole tree/fruit thing, but as for one verse in the section, I have seen some illumination from scripture-lived-out.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
I was unsure about how the logic of ‘believe that you have received, and it will be yours” would work, but it is becoming clear as I attempt to ask for specific things in prayer (and have other people pray for me), attempt to believe that God has answered my (our) requests, and then see that… whoa… God was working that out and doing stuff about that specific area before I even realised I should pray for it. It might not even be ask for A and get A, but the unexpected (perhaps even unrelated) B that happens is interconnected. I think such things (chain answers to prayer) happen in conjunction with a chain of obedience linked by a great dollop of faith. Not everything is pleasant, but it’s all working for good.
Sometimes God answers so suddenly and clearly — but you know, in a casual “I’ve always been working” God way.
Now you don’t see it… and now you do :)