For those of us who have been in the church a long time, unpacking today’s verses can feel like a taboo topic. We believe. We are saved. We know the Sunday School answers. But, if we’re honest, we still have moments, maybe weeks, even seasons, of doubt and disbelief.
Sometimes our faith feels small.
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.’” Matthew 17:20
Sometimes our faith feels really small.
Thankfully, we aren’t alone. The Bible is littered with stories of people who had the same doubts. The disciples’ faith wavered on the Sea of Galilee. These were men who witnessed Jesus perform miracles, and they still had reservations. In the Old Testament, Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, but when they got a scouting report back about what awaited them in Canaan (“. . . the inhabitants are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large” Numbers 13:28), the majority immediately panicked and asked “Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Now remember, these people had only recently seen their sons spared during the Passover, had witnessed the plagues on Egypt, and had literally walked through a parted Red Sea.
Doubt is not new or unique.
A storm is the perfect analogy for testing and measuring our faith. It is easy to sing praise and proclaim our faith when life is calm and safe and predictable. Life’s trials are when our faith is tested. Christians are not promised an easy road, and the reality is that our faith is refined by life’s afflictions.
I’ve watched friends endure the unthinkable yet cling to God and emerge scarred but stronger. I’ve also watched people stray from their faith when it didn’t come easily. I’ve done both.
So, how do we grow in our faith, tame our doubts, quiet our disbelief?
We trust God to deliver us and we adjust our expectations of how that might look. God has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Sometimes deliverance looks like the storyline we would write in the midst of hardship. He cures the illness, shelters us from the natural disaster, protects the marriage, provides financially. Sometimes it won’t look like our plan at all, and deliverance takes on an eternal perspective of freeing us from the world. (Paul said, “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” Phil 1:21)
A wise friend taught me a habit that has been of profound and practical importance in strengthening my own faith. She taught me to pray very specifically and to jot down those prayer requests. We get so busy that it’s surprisingly easy to overlook God’s answers to our prayers. I have found that keeping a specific, brief list helps me remember and appreciate the continual ways God shows up and provides.
I don’t want “fair-weather faith.” I want resilient, bold faith that is deeply rooted and secure. My prayer is that of the father who begged Jesus to save his son from a demonic spirit, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
We pray for belief that He can calm the storms. And even if He doesn’t, for belief that He will not abandon us in the downpour.
Dear Lord, give me faith to trust you more. Meet me here, and help me in my unbelief.
Grace and peace,
Week 2 Challenge: In your journal complete this statement: “I will trust God with_____________________.” Then, make a list of three to five actions you can take to trust God in this area.
Week 2 Reading Plan
Week 2 Memory Verse