"Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Most us have a pretty limited faith. We can trust God for a lot of things, but they are usually small enough not to stretch us. From time to time God will bring things into our lives designed to more or less force us to take a greater step of faith. So we can all relate to the apostles in this passage.
Peter, James, and John have been with Jesus on the mountain where He was transfigured (see Thursday's post). As they come down, they meet a crowd. A man has brought his son who is a "lunatic" to the other apostles. But they could not cure him. Then Jesus does. Afterward the disciples come to Him and ask Him why they could not cure the boy. Our Lord tells them it is because of their unbelief and then gives them the exhortation of our text.
We all face "lunatics" in our lives and I don't mean some of the people we work with, or are related to. I mean the impossible situations that God brings into our lives. How do we face them? Most of the time we begin by panicking. Then we begin to plan. Eventually we reach frustration, anger, and even despair. Then, sometimes, we might pray. But, even then, it's not because we've suddenly been filled with faith, it's because we've tried everything else and we're desperate. Our prayers lack faith. They sound more like whining than praying. Why do we follow this track? Because of our unbelief.
If we stop for a moment and meditate on the text this morning, we find that our Lord intends for this process to be quite different. When faced with an impossible situation, the first thing we should do is pray. In the beginning, a lot of this prayer will be focused on telling God how much we are struggling and that we need faith to believe. It will sound like the man's prayer as recorded in Mark's Gospel: "Lord I believe. Help my unbelief." But eventually, if we are faithful in continuous prayer, our prayer will already be filled with faith and we will turn to God in the quiet confidence that, though we have no idea what to do, He does. As we wait on Him in prayer, He will often give us a direction. We are to follow, even with the smallest faith (a mustard seed). Then we will be able to speak to the mountain in our lives and command it to move out of the way.
The key to all of this is that last line: "Nothing will be impossible for you." Most of us can accept the idea that nothing is impossible with God. But to say that nothing is impossible for us seems to be a fantasy. It isn't. If we will trust in God we become one with Him. We don't strike out on our own and expect God to back us up. Rather, we wait on God and follow His direction. Then we may have the confidence that nothing will be impossible for us because nothing is impossible with God.
Does this mean we will always get what we want? No. That's the point. It's about trust in God. It's about submission to Him. It is not about telling God what He should be doing. That is the very opposite of faith. Sometimes we will still lose the job, the marriage will break up, the sickness will not go away, and people we love will die. The difference is that if we approach all of this in faith, the situation will bear the fruit of the grace of God in our lives and in the lives of others around us. Otherwise, there will be no fruit, but anger and despair.
Whatever we are facing today, God is calling us to faith. He is leading us to go beyond our understanding or comfort zone to find that He moves mountains and delivers lunatics. Nothing is impossible to God. And if we believe, even with the smallest faith, nothing will be impossible to us either.