Have you ever wished you could get more faith? Buy a trolley load at the supermarket or dig up a lump of it from the ground?
And yet Jesus said, ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’ (Matt 17: 20). For Jesus, just a tiny amount of faith in him is all we need. So, what do we do when we don’t feel have enough?
In Mark chapter nine, there is a story of a father of a demon-possessed boy, who came to Jesus and said, ‘If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ Jesus took issue with the father’s first three words. ‘If you can?’ he replied, ‘Everything is possible for those who believe’. And then the father gave that famous response, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.’
Without realising it, the father had identified something very important: ‘I do believe (I have mustard seed faith); but please help me overcome my unbelief (help me overcome the thing that is getting in the way of my faith).
Here’s something that might surprise you – you probably don’t need more faith! But there are times when we might need to overcome things that are getting in the way – barriers to faith. The good news is Jesus can help us with that.
Just like he did with Jairus.
Jairus was a synagogue ruler who came to Jesus (in Mark 5: 22) and pleaded with him to heal his very sick daughter. Jesus indicated to him that he would go to his house and minister to her, but they were interrupted. By the time they had got to the house, the girl was dead.
It would have been very easy for Jairus to give up at this point: the facts were clear – it was too late, and the girl had died. But Jesus said, ‘don’t be afraid; just believe’ (Mark 5: 36).
In just that moment Jesus confronted two major barriers to faith: facts and fear; or rather, doubts because of facts, and fear. Jesus wasn’t asking Jairus to ignore the facts, and he wasn’t asking him to psych up more faith. He was simply saying, ‘look at me’.
‘Look beyond the facts and the fear and believe in me’.
What are you praying for? Do the facts of the situation tell you it is impossible? Does fear try to take your attention away from God? If so, look beyond both of those things to Jesus. Look through them to the calm presence of the one who has authority over all things and who has all power. Then watch what God can do with that tiny mustard seed of faith.