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  • Writer's pictureR.C. VanLandingham

Help My Unbelief

This is Day 6 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.

"For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20).

In the above verse Jesus is explaining to His disciples that they do not have nearly the faith that they believe they do. A father had brought his son to be healed of a demon which gave the boy seizures and cast him into the fire and tried to drown him in water. When the father and the boy arrived, however, Jesus was not there. He was up on the mountain top being transfigured. The disciples were unable to heal the boy and cast out the demon. When Jesus came down from the mountain the boy's father explained that the disciples could not heal the boy and begged Jesus to do so.

Jesus understood exactly why his disciples could not heal the boy. It was because of their "little faith." He then went on to explain the above verse, that if they only had the faith of a mustard seed (a tiny seed) they could do anything, including heal the boy. The point here is that the disciples did NOT have the faith of a mustard seed. The very people who saw him walk on water, heal the sick, feed the 5,000, and even bring people back from the dead did not have even the tiniest bit of faith needed.

This is confused sometimes. We think that we have a great big heaping helping of faith and since all it takes is a tiny little mustard seed sized bit of faith to do anything, then we can do anything. Our faith gets tested when the person we prayed to be healed dies, or the job we prayed not to lose gets cut. Unfortunately, that way of thinking misses the point. The point is that we do NOT have even a tiny itsy bitsy bit of faith. Even the disciples--some of the greatest saints to ever live--lacked this mustard seed sized faith.

If the disciples lacked even this tiny bit of faith what hope is there for me? The hope, of course, is in Jesus. In Mark's version of this same story, the father asked Jesus to help his son "if you can." To which Jesus responded "All things are possible for one who believes." (Mark 9:23). That sounds great, but we've already seen that even the disciples didn't have even a tiny bit of faith. I probably do not believe as much as the disciples did, so what can I do? I can do as the father did. "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said 'I believe; help my unbelief!'" (Mark 9:24). I must be humble enough to admit that I do not have the faith necessary to move mountains. When my faith comes up short, I should ask Jesus to help me with my unbelief. After all, He has plenty of faith to spare.

Today's prayer:

Lord I do not have even the tiniest bit of faith--not even the faith of a mustard seed. But I believe in You enough to know that You love me and will help me. Please help my unbelief. Where I am deficient in my faith please strengthen it and where my faith falls short, please make up the rest. Amen.

R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.

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