Faith of a mustard seed

Hey friends, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything for you. Life has been a little crazy as of late. There have been grant deadlines, committee meetings, some hard but necessary conversations, and right now I am really feeling the weight of uncertainty in the world around me. I have never been more aware of my powerlessness and my desperate need for God.

And wow, isn’t that terrifying.

I’ll admit, I’m uncomfortable right now. This isn’t nice. It isn’t pleasant. I’m not certain if God will come through for me in the way I expect, or if it’s all going to turn out the way I want the most. And I’m trying not to prepare for my heart to be broken because I don’t want to believe the fear that He won’t show up for me. I’ve used that fear my whole life, and I don’t want to anymore.

But what shall I do? What will take the place of that aching, that fear and isolation, tribulation and doubt? What will enter in if I hold my heart open and dare to wait expectantly instead of hiding and running away, the way I’ve done so many times before? I do not know, but the Lord offers some help.

“Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.” Luke 8:50

These are the words Jesus proclaims to Jairus, the man who has come to beg the Lord to save his daughter’s life. They have just heard that she is certainly dead, that the situation is hopeless and they should send the Teacher away. Without pause, without breath, at the very moment these words reach their ears, Jesus utters another phrase, speaking the truth into this desperate situation.

“Do not fear; only believe.”

Oh Jesus, from where do we receive this faith, when we feel helpless and alone, and we have to really rely on You for the first time? Where do we find that mustard seed, the one that You promised would turn into a mighty tree and cause us to move mountains for the sake of Your name? Where is this faith, O mighty God? Where can I find it?

The irony, my friends, is that this is something we cannot acquire for ourselves. We cannot make ourselves have the faith that Jesus desires, the faith that allows God to make everything well. We cannot not force our hearts to believe the words of Christ, nor can we of our own will erase all fear. The very thing that Jesus commands, we ourselves cannot do.

So what are we to do, when we are in the place of Jairus, being asked to believe in a Man Whose works we have seen, but have never needed so desperately? What are we to say to that Face that looks at us, Who so gently, so quietly, calls us and our weary hearts to believe?

Perhaps we simply tell Him the truth.

“This is the critical hour, Lord. This is the critical moment. This is the moment where You ask for my faith and You call my heart to believe. And my Lord, I must confess that I am struggling. Because I don’t know that I can count on You. I don’t know what You are going to do. And I am afraid that after everything I’ve heard about Who You are, maybe this is the time You won’t show up. I am afraid, Lord God, that You will not show up for me. But I also know that You are God, and in Your eyes I can see that You are the only hope I have. And I want to believe.

Lord, I know that I cannot make this situation better. And I don’t really know that You can either. But what I do know is that I love You, and I want to let You try.”

This is that little mustard seed of faith, that turning of our hearts, laying them low. That bow to the King in uncertainty. That choosing to stay. This is the faith He needs.

We do not need to be ready in order to receive a miracle.

Friends, where in your life are you being asked to believe? Where are you being asked to believe in the power of the Incarnate, the Resurrected God? And are these the same places where you find that you feel the most afraid? If you find yourself like Jairus, walking with Jesus towards the house where your daughter sleeps, do not be afraid. Just tell Him. Tell Him you want to believe.

Because, that little faith, that mustard seed? I promise you friends, that’s all He needs.