Do you ever feel like you don’t have as much faith as you should?
Being on a faith journey indicates we are moving from one place to another along the way. In a world where we are told we have to do things right or there will be no reward, our Lord understands that we are each a work in progress, and He loves us along the way. In Matthew 17:20 (NIV) Jesus says, “…Truly I tell you, 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.” Interestingly, He chooses a mustard seed for illustration. Jesus doesn’t use the image of a small stone which will remain the same size or grow smaller over time, but the image of a seed suggesting it has the potential to grow. As a matter of fact, a mustard seed is one of the smallest of seeds, but it grows into a very large plant. All of this reminds us that God loves us as we are, not as we think we should be. This is evident in the book of Mark when a man brings his son who is inhabited by a demon to Jesus for healing.
Jesus asked the father, “How long has he been like this?
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can?’” said ‘esus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father claimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
Mark 9:21-27 NIV
When Jesus says in response to the father’s request, “Everything is possible for one who believes,” and the father responds, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”, this man’s response shows his knowledge that he has room to grow in his faith. What does Jesus do? He doesn’t tell this man to come back when he has enough faith. He understands the honesty in the father’s response. The seed of faith is alive and well in this man and that is enough. Jesus loves him as he is! What good news this is for us.
We must, however, remember that for a seed to mature it must be tended. It must be given the nutrients and other conditions needed for it to reach its potential. Knowing that our Lord loves us where we are is such a relief. It gives us the desire to grow in our faith in response to the radical nature of such a love. We do this through things like prayer, Bible study, attending church regularly, loving, and serving others, etc. Growth in our relationship with our God who loves us so completely brings joy and meaning to our lives. What could be more wonderful than that?