Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” And He *said to them, “Because of your meager faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:19-20
After Jesus had healed the son of the man who struggled with his own belief (Matthew 17:14-18), the twelve who were His closest followers were curious as to why they were unable to do so. The Lord’s reply to their inquiries concerning their inability to cast out the evil spirit, directly addressed of their “meager faith.” Some translations use the word “unbelief,” which may even magnify Jesus’ response. If you apply Christ’s standard, their faith was smaller than a mustard seed, much smaller in fact, for according to Jesus, nothing is impossible for someone who possesses faith of that size.
I find this very challenging, even a bit chastising, don’t you? While I long to believe God for the impossible, I don’t always do it. Like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk to Jesus, I may be bold in the beginning, but then “the waves” get too big and I begin to sink into what seem to be overwhelming circumstances. If “mustard seed faith” is what is required, mine may sometimes feel like it would fit on the end of a pin.
I have learned that the greatest struggle is often not with “Can God?”, but rather, “Will God?” Perhaps, like me, you do not struggle with God’s ability (understanding that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present), but may wonder at times about His personal concern about and attention to the challenges you are facing.
May we all understand this truth. God knows about our “mountains,” He can move our “mountains,” and He will move them when it brings Him the greatest glory to do so. He can and He will. Lord, help us with our unbelief.
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. – Augustine