Posted by michelle on Saturday, January 22, 2011 / Labels: faith
Not that I don’t like the idea that if I ask God for a Cadillac, or big screen TV or new wardrobe and keep asking and have enough faith. That God will deliver.
Trust me, I like stuff. A lot. It is kind of a problem for me. And for most Americans.
But. I don’t think God particularly wants to give me a big check or TV or new car just because I believed enough that he would.
Because what happens when he doesn’t come through.
What if the check doesn’t come.
Or the test results are negative.
Or when the phone rings in the middle of the night.
Where does that leave my faith or my God.
Is it big enough to still believe after that?
And because I think there are plenty of people out there with way more faith than me.
Living with way less. Praying really important prayers. That aren’t always answered the way we wish. And that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with faith. But mostly about a really big God whose timing and goodness I don’t always get to see all at once.
One time. Not so many months ago I was sitting on one of my favorite couches and talking with friend who was in crisis mode. She wondered aloud that maybe if she just believed enough. That God would come through for her. That she just needed more faith. And to trust. And to maybe start going to church again. That those magic three ingredients would guarantee what we were all praying for.
And what do you say to that.
“Yes. Exactly. Just have more faith and everything will be ok.”
I couldn’t say that because I didn’t know. And because sometimes it isn’t ok.
And I was going through my own season of questions and sad and rifts. And I was in no capacity to be a cheerleader or spew out nonsense about having more faith. There wasn't any extra in my pocket to hand out. But I did know that it wasn’t a matter of faith. Or trust. Or sin. Or reading her bible or going to church or doing good things. All I could do was pray. And sit on the couch. And hope.
One time, mid-lecture on forgiveness, Jesus’s apostles asked him for more faith.
“Increase our faith” they asked boldly. (Luke 17:5 NIV). And who better to ask than Jesus. And faith is a good thing, surely he would give them more if they asked for it. It is kind of like my kid asking for another serving of vegetables. Of course I'd give them more. But, I’m not so sure why they even needed more faith in the first place. They were hanging out every day with the son of God. They had seen him heal the sick, cast out demons, turn water into wine, feed thousands with a few loaves and all kinds of other mind boggling stuff. If faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). They had seen. They were there. I’m not sure why they really felt the need to ask Jesus for more of it.
Unless of course they wanted to be able to do more of the things Jesus did.
And walk on water.
Or even move mountains.
And Jesus didn’t reach in his pocket and start handing out more faith when his best friends asked for it. Or lay hands on them. Or pray for them. He didn't tell them to have more quiet times or study the scripture or start a new bible study or even go volunteer in the church nursery. He didn’t mention the prayer of Jabez. I’m pretty sure his answer shocked them.
He told them they didn’t really need much.
That they only needed a mustard seed worth.
That a tiny bit was enough. For almost anything.
And so this idea that we need more faith is false.
We only need a smidge.
To uproot trees or move mountains.
To pray for our friends. And to show up.
To thank God when he answers those prayers with a beautiful sweet and perfect baby girl. When seasons pass. When questions are answered and when they aren't.
Or to keep believing anyways when we don’t get the answer we want.
And most importantly to grow.
Because seeds are supposed to become trees.
photocredits: seed: http://happylotus.com/2009/10/08/mustard-money-and-fear-what-is-going-on/