Dianne and I were reviewing some of what is happening around us the other evening. It seems like nearly everyone we know is dealing with something really big and really hard – personally, professionally, ministerially, involving health or spouse or children or finances or systems or the consequences of somebody else’s sin.
Some are doubting their faith. How to respond?
The paragraph below from Pastor John was helpful for me. Luke 17:6 can be misapplied, even when intended as a comfort or as advice. But for those hearing that verse it can feel more like an indictment against them – ‘you need to have faith like a mustard seed!’ The answer isn’t more faith and it certainly isn’t telling them simply to have faith (adding guilt on top of doubt).
Luke 17:5-6: The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
He strengthens our faith by telling us in verse 6 that the crucial issue in accomplishing great things to advance the Kingdom of God is not the quantity of our faith, but the power of God. He says, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” By referring to the tiny mustard seed after being asked about increased faith, He deflects attention away from the quantity of faith to the object of faith (emphasis mine). God moves mulberry trees. And it does not depend decisively on the quantity of our faith, but on His power and wisdom and love. In knowing this, we are helped not to worry about our faith and are inspired to trust God’s free initiative and power.
John Piper, Pierced by the Word: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Soul, p. 99.
May we all remain fixed on the object of faith and the enduring hope we can have in His power and wisdom and love.