Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A tall-order faith

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Matthew 21, 22, 23

Matthew 21:21-22 (NIV)

21 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Good morning!

Casting mountains into the sea and watching fig trees shrivel up with one word is one tall order for this tiny little mustard-seed. I’ve often wished I could be taller in life. As long as I can remember, I’ve had to use a foot stool to reach most of the dishes in the kitchen cabinets above my head. I would like to reach the gas pedal without having to virtually sit on top of the steering wheel. My legs keep growing, but not in the direction I would like them to. When I make clothing purchases, I have to alter every long sleeved-jacket, and shorten the length of every pair of dress pants. Sometimes, I get lucky with blue jeans, but not often. So how can I, a precious child of the Great I Am, begin to develop a tall-order faith that moves mountains aside and causes dysfunctional growth to wither away, once and for all? The answer is: I can’t. But He can do it through me, if I’ll simply believe.

There’s nothing simple about faith. It takes lots of courage and brut strength to believe. Even the simplest trust can be shredded into tiny pieces when we allow a little doubt to creep inside our minds. Do you find yourself doubting the Word of God often? When you read His Word each day, do you cling to every phrase, putting the passage to memory and noting its chapter and verse for future reference? Or is it more of a comfort, to simply hear the words speak as they fall across the page, hoping and praying they might be written especially for you. Maybe the Word makes no logical sense at all. You begin to question the probability or possibility that something so strange could actually happen. God can do anything – He has the power to move mountains and causes fig trees to wither away. But how could He expect someone like you and I to do the same?

So what if it was possible? Could that tiny little faith seed I have inside my heart grow to the place where mountains would step aside as I passed through each valley? What if God could take that mustard seed and make it grow? He might be able to stretch my faith and make me tall enough to stand firm in the face of fear and not retreat when life gets rough. Is it really possible?

The Word says that all things are possible for those who believe. When you first gave your heart to the Lord, what was it that convinced you to believe? We all want evidence, especially my friends and neighbors in Missouri. After all, we live in the Show-Me State. Just prove it! We want solid, foundational proof that God is who He says He is; that Christ not only lived a fully human and fully divine existence, but that He gave His life for all humanity and rose again in fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation. The proof is there, and for every person who seeks Him, Christ will reveal Himself in amazing ways. But was that the lightening bolt that took you from initial doubt to a full faith? For me, it had more to do with simple trust. I was a child when I first gave my heart to the Lord. I don’t remember needing to be convinced of His mercy and love. There have been seasons in my life where faith was harder to hold onto. And there were times when I allowed self-doubt to overshadow the faith I profess. With time, error, and His forgiveness and grace, I’ve learned to depend more and more upon His Word, and to trust Him, especially when my world is falling apart. It is not anything I can do on my own; faith comes by hearing. Faith grows by the grace of God alone.

I want you to know that I’m planning to be taller one day. I’m going to stop growing out and start growing up in the Lord! I’ve already put in my request for my new, perfect body in the life to come. Since I’m spending an eternity in heaven, I plan to be at least six inches taller, so I don’t have to climb up a ladder just to see the Lord walk by. I am leaving behind adult acne, ingrown hair, cellulite, and corrective contact lenses. I’m looking for perfect health, perfect vision, perfect hearing, no more tears, and no more pain.

I’m holding onto His peace that passes all human understanding. It is the same peace I cling to today. If Jesus says that I can move mountains and receive what I ask for in prayer by faith, I have no reason not to believe Him. Jesus has never failed me, and He will never fail you.

What mountains are in your way? Is there some dysfunction in your life that needs to wither? Maybe you are struggling with an addiction, a broken heart, an illness or injury that is keeping you frozen in doubt and fear. By yourself, there is just nothing you can do to overcome this struggle. When you place your faith in the Lord, He changes everything. Ask Him to help you trust Him all the more. Look to Christ for mustard-seed faith that moves mountains. So often we pray about our problems. Today, let’s pray the answers instead.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


Pray for: greater faith! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.” Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6). Pray the Scripture today. Take those words from the printed page and claim them for yourself in prayer. You may find yourself possessing a tall-order faith!


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

All rights reserved

Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.