Becoming a woman of great faith seems daunting, really a terrifying task. I mean, I believe. I do. Like the father whose son was possessed by an evil spirit, I beg God to help my unbelief. (See Mark 9:23)
The thing that most intrigues me about this exchange between desperate parent and Divine God-Man is Jesus' response to the man's request. Let me explain. But first, imagine this father's heartbreak; his son is suffering. Imagine his frustration; he is powerless to comfort his son. Imagine his desperation; he has no other options. If you are a parent who has been driven to your knees despairing for your baby's well-being, no matter their age, you get this.
Tears of frustration drip off wooden rocking chairs at 3 AM as mamas plead for a crying baby with a double earache. Tears of helplessness soak the carpet on closet floors at 3 AM as mamas plead for wayward teens out way past curfew. Tears of desperation pool at the feet of pacing mamas at 3 AM as worry gives way to intercession for adult children weary from raising their own children.
This dad was weary and his desperation finally brought him to Jesus. I imagine this battle beaten dad fighting to bring his beloved boy to Jesus. "Jesus can stop the suffering," he repeats to the possessed boy. Exhausted he makes it into Jesus' presence with a faith that believes Jesus could.
This tired father first asks Jesus' disciples to heal the boy to no avail. When Jesus asks what's going on, the man humbly asks, "Have mercy on us and help us, if you can."
If You can.
I so get this. Maybe you do too.
Jesus, heal my daughter, if You can. Jesus, provide for us, if You can. Jesus, protect my family, if You can. Jesus, save my husband, if You can.
If. You. Can.
It seems like this desperate dad had the faith to believe Jesus could, but not the faith to believe Jesus would.
I get that. Maybe you do too. And that's okay. Because you know what Jesus said?
Jesus said, "
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief."
And then Jesus healed the boy.
When I ponder my big dreams and lofty goals, I find myself like this desperate dad, I cry out, "I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!"
And Jesus heals; Jesus moves; Jesus responds. To my little bit of faith, He draws near. And often He does big things.
The Bible says the smallest speck of faith produces a power that moves mountains.
Did you know the Bible says Abraham wasn't a man of great faith, but only a man of faith? A man of faith who proved his faith by his actions. The Bible says it only takes a small amount of faith to move mountains. I hope this encourages you like it does me.
Sometimes when I read about Abraham I see evidence of a shaky faith. Proof of his humanity reminding me Abraham wasn’t perfect either. Verification that, like me, he lived in a place where fear and faith commingle. It seems he struggled too. Wrestled with doubt. And at times, lived a forced faith. Just like I do. Maybe you do too.
Just like the desperate dad, Abraham helps me realize believing an impossible dream doesn’t require an incredible faith.
When a man angel who is God himself visits Abraham to announce the impending birth of his son, the Bible says Sarah laughs in disbelief. It doesn’t say what Abraham did, but his next actions speak for themselves.
Shortly after God’s visit, Abraham and Sarah move to a new land. Evidence of their faith. Where they introduce Sarah as Abraham’s sister instead of his wife. Proof of their fear. Yet, God protects Abraham and Sarah. Evidence of His faithfulness. God blesses Abraham and Sarah. Proof of His faithfulness. However, there is something different this time.
God delivers a punishment. Not to Abraham and Sarah in their disbelief, but to the king himself. All the women in King Abimelech’s harem become barren because the king brings Sarah into his palace. After Abimelech releases Sarah and repays Abraham, Abraham prays for the king and God heals the women.
And I believe perhaps, seeing God bless foreign bellies with babies bolsters Abraham’s own belief. And perhaps Abraham leaves the king believing God will indeed bless his own wife's barren belly.
God gives good gifts because He is faithful. He rewards living faith. Even in this messy land where faith mixes with fear, God grows foreign kingdoms full with life. Even as Abraham’s faith tangles with doubt, God works. He delivers. Because clearly, the most important thing is that faith does, in fact, live. And a budding seed, is in fact, living. A small life is still a life.
And in that small place that houses his faith, his dream is powered to life with the birth of his son.
Like Abraham, we are prone to do our own thing our own way. Protect our plans with our own hands. But God. He calls our dreams to fulfillment by faith. He asks us to determine that He will deliver when no deliverance is in sight.
Faith requires we see it as it is while calling it what it is still yet to be. Then and only then, will we watch it happen.
Friends, God brought Abraham’s son forth because He is faithful. The son was a reward to the man of faith. Not great faith. Just faith. A slightly smallish sometimes shaky faith. Just a drop of faith yields movement. With a smidge of faith, God turned a dead dream into a fulfilled reality. With a pinch of faith, an ordinary man became a father of many nations.
With a small step of faith, Jesus healed a desperate dad's son. And with many small steps of faith, God birthed a man's promised son from a barren woman and fathered many nations from an elderly first time father.
Abraham is our living proof. A size small faith is the only possession required to live a God sized dream.
And this truth sustains our own faith. And where faith lives, miracles happen. Even if it’s the smallest speck of faith. Because that is enough. Before anything can grow, a seed is required. Only a seed. The smallest seed of faith can grow into big dreams when properly planted by ordinary hands and tended by the divine Gardener.
Sister, don’t ever lose faith. God will do what He has promised. Like Abraham, keep the faith. And remember, it doesn't take an immense faith to realize an incredible dream. To see big dreams come true only requires nurturing a seed sized faith. So if a little faith is all you've got, that's okay. A little faith is more than enough.
"God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your great faithfulness. Help me to cling to who you are and never lose my faith. I believe you will complete the work you’ve started in me. You will do what you've promised to do and I will see your goodness manifest in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.