Oh Ye of Little Faith

Have you ever been told you lacked faith? Perhaps you prayed for healing and didn’t get the answer you wanted. Or maybe you didn’t get a job you prayed for and were told it was because you didn’t have enough faith. Christians are sometimes judgmental toward others when prayers aren’t answered according to plan.

Several times, Jesus told the disciples they either lacked faith or had very little. When Peter walked on the water toward Jesus, looked down and sank beneath the waves, Jesus pointed out Peter’s little faith. We tend to think Jesus was criticizing and judging him for his lack of faith and then by extension, carry the criticism over to ourselves and others. But maybe it wasn’t so much a condemnation as an observation on humanity. We all lack faith. We all have trouble believing at times.

The man who came to Jesus for help and then admitted his lack of faith is familiar to us. I know I pray his words. I’m sure you do too. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. We believe and we doubt. Sometimes our faith seems strong and sometimes it seems nonexistent.

In both these instances, Peter taking a dunking and the man admitting his faith was weak, Jesus came through. He didn’t walk away in disgust and leave them hanging. He pulled Peter out of the water and helped him back to the boat. He healed the man’s son (Mark 9). In neither case was lack of faith the deal breaker. Lack of faith noted; prayer answered.

It might help us of little faith to take another look at what having faith really means. We already know if God depended on our faith and faithfulness, the world would have ended a long time ago. Our faith is just not enough and never has been. But God hears our prayers and answers us in our unbelief. Why? Because the faith we need is not our own but the faith of Jesus. It’s his faith and his belief that make the difference. We depend on it.

Jesus trusted the Father. Jesus is the only one with perfect faith. The faith of Jesus saves us, heals us and keeps us going. He’s already done everything else for us so it makes sense his faith is what we cling to, not our own. If we make faith a measurable thing that determines answers to prayer, spiritual growth and maturity and how much we accomplish for God, we are changing grace into works. I’ve never been able to get past “very little” on the faith meter. It’s not something we can measure, work up or do on our own. We do live by faith – by the faith of Jesus.

Once again, I’m encouraged to know it’s not up to me. Nothing is. I cling to the Vine with my feeble strength and desire, knowing it’s Jesus who helps me have even that little bit of strength and desire. He’s the one who provides and sustains my faith. Oh ye of little faith? Yes, but he of perfect faith is my perfect Savior.

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