At some point, I think most, if not all followers of Christ have a problem with faith. We concern ourselves with how much we have or don’t have. Lots of us who come to Christ start off with an overwhelming amount of faith. We are excited. Our faith in Christ is new and energizing. It drives us to share what we know about Jesus with the people we know and to some unsuspecting folks we don’t know. As new believers, we are eager to share this faith we have come upon.
But at some point down the road, as time goes by, faith can become an issue. It did, even for the disciples who actually had first-hand knowledge of Jesus. You would think that a person or persons with first-hand knowledge of Jesus, and what he was capable of doing, would have all the faith needed to handle pretty much anything. And yet, the disciples had their bad days, too. This serves to make me feel much better about myself.
Remember the boat and the storm? There was Jesus, asleep in the boat with the disciples, and the storm came up and threatened to capsize them. In their fear, they woke Jesus up and told him of their impending doom. They were right in going to Jesus, but they didn’t approach him with the faith that he could handle the problem, rather only to complain that that he didn’t seem to care about their plight. Uh oh. How many times I have done this very thing?
It was then that he admonished them for their lack of faith saying, “Oh you of little faith!” (Matthew 8:26) This was not a solitary event for his disciples. I would imagine it frustrated Jesus. There was a time that after Jesus had conferred on his disciples the ability to heal in his name that they were unable to heal a young boy who suffered greatly. They brought him to Jesus who healed him easily. Later, and in private, they asked Jesus what the problem had been. Again… they lacked the faith needed to accomplish the task. But then Jesus turned and said that it would only take the smallest measure of faith to move a mountain. (Matthew 17:20) So which is it? Do we need much faith or only a little? I am confused.
It must, then, be not the measure of our faith that really matters, rather its application. Do we only need to have MORE faith for someone we love to be healed or a situation to be made right again? How many people carry the guilt and shame for not having enough faith to get God to move? I think the approach is off there. Our measure of faith must always allow us to believe that Jesus CAN heal, that he CAN make right the wrongs in our lives. It must be our faith that drives us first to him. But our faith must be placed in the power of his love to do what is best for us in all things.
We are told that God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) His thoughts are not ours. It is hard for us to believe that an affliction could be a blessing or that a horrible circumstance could be to our ultimate benefit. Of course we believe God can and does heal bodies and situations. Those things we have seen with our own eyes. Yet our faith is made effective when we learn to trust the outcomes of life’s problems to his hand.
I have suffered with migraine headaches almost my whole life. They are sometimes debilitating. I have asked again and again to be healed of these. I have asked others to lay hands on me for healing. I have not been healed yet. Do I believe God can heal me? Absolutely. And I trust, by faith, in his great love for me that while I still suffer, he is blessing me through it and in spite of it. I know with a word that my headaches can be gone, AND through faith I trust his decision to leave them with me. His ways, not mine.
Our faith quotient does not make us sovereign over God to have him do our bidding. Faith continues to keep us at his feet, trusting in him for all things and believing in him for our good in every circumstance even when we cannot see.