He replied, “Because you have so little faith. 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.”
So, why aren’t you healed yet?
That’s how I used to hear these “faith verses”. God was telling me that nothing would be impossible for me, even if I only had the smallest amount of faith. So why was I still sick? Why was I still struggling financially? Why wasn’t my life displaying the blessings of the God I said I believed in?
At one point, I stopped reading the “faith verses” altogether because they only made me feel worse. I stopped listening to the faith teachers and I only listened to the “practical” and “realistic” teachers, because this is the world we live in and I just have to deal with it.
And God was still good. God helped me through the trials and brought me relief through hip replacement surgery, thyroidectomy with its corresponding medication, and a Bipolar II Disorder diagnosis with its corresponding medication.
He protected me when a medication change ended up with me not caring about anything at work, so I cussed out a Manager when I thought he was wrong. I survived the consequences of those actions, and He led me to a different medication. I’m proud to say I haven’t cussed out any Managers in 10 years. I should get a chip for that!
I survived. And I knew it was God’s grace and mercy that brought me through. But I was still depressed and anxious.
When God led me to start listening to the faith message again, I had no intention of asking God for anything big. I had given up on happiness. All I wanted was stability.
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.)
God met me where I was. I only had enough faith to obey His call to join a CR step study and listen to faith teaching in my car on the way to work. But that was enough. God took the faith I had and kept me going.
When He told me that I should start avoiding refined sugar and simple carbs, I balked. You want me to what? I have dieted off and on my whole life, but I could never keep it up. What makes you think I can do this?
But I knew that it was His Will for me at that time, so I found a tiny crumb of faith in the floorboard of my soul and gave it to Him. And it was enough. God took the faith I had and kept me going.
Faith isn’t the only thing compared to a mustard seed in the Bible. So is the Kingdom of Heaven.
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Small beginnings. God doesn’t expect His Kingdom to just appear, fully grown. The big payoff at the end of this parable is preceded by years of growth. And this growth begins with a man planting a small seed.
I wasn’t standing in faith for my healing. I wasn’t even standing in faith for stability. I was just limping along with the hope that God is good and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1).
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
What’s even smaller than mustard seed faith? Hope. Hope can’t move a mountain. Hope can’t heal anyone. What it can do, is provide a foundation for faith to build on. Hope is the prerequisite of faith.
God can use that, too.
When I gave God my hope that what He told me to do would help get me better, that was laying a foundation for faith. As I followed through on those things, faith showed up. At first, it was only a tiny seed, but it was something I could plant.
Walking in obedience to God’s Will planted the seed of faith. Listening to His Word on a regular basis watered it. Six months later, a little stalk of green popped up from the soil. That manifestation built up my hope and fueled my faith even more, so that I could start reading His Word for myself on a regular basis.
Faith is not magic. It takes time and work. But God is not so cruel as to make us suffer until we get everything right. He wants you healed even more than you want to be healed. So He’s going to take every little scrap of faith you can give Him and work with it.
What small thing can you believe for, or even just hope for, today? Give it to God and let Him grow it.
Photo Credit: Novalis at en.wikipedia