Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of 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
Friday, January 10, 2014
Say To This Molehill
Traditionally, a statement attributed to Jesus is appended here as verse 21, “However, this kind does not go out except by fasting and prayer.” That does sound like it could easily be a scribe’s note, added in commentary. I don’t know, but I always took it to apply more to the unbelief of the disciples than to the demon about which they asked.
Sometimes it is not the demons that plague us so much as how we choose to deal with them. Too often our worldly solutions are worse than the problems they are intended to solve. Trusting in God brings rest. It shackles and gags the demon, for, in the end, the devil’s only weapons are fear and doubt.
How far does mountain-moving and doing the impossible go? Let me put it this way, a couple of years ago, after I bought the Enterprise, having not ridden bikes for twenty-five years, I thought it might be a good idea to take a rider course as part of getting the motorcycle qualification on my license. What happens is that students get several hours of actual riding in on a small bike like the Suzuki GW250. Then, at the end, the certified instructors run the riders through the test course, doing the same maneuvers practiced over the last two days.
During breaks in the riding, the instructors – always experienced and dedicated riders themselves – demonstrate techniques and answer questions. One of the instructors said something about always riding within one’s limits. A student asked how we were supposed to know what our limits are. It’s a reasonable question. The instructor gave what may be one of the most life-prolonging bits of advice a biker can hear, “When your butt starts clenching the seat, you are at your limit.” Extending one’s limits as a rider comes naturally from more riding. They didn’t train and test us on fully-loaded, 900-lb touring bikes – though some of us had those. The little ‘Zooks weighed less than some of their riders.
A similar test must apply with regard to faith. When a wise saint asks us if we have “peace” about a situation or decision, it is really a question about whether or not we have pushed too far beyond the limits of our faith. We develop and strengthen our faith through prayer and meditating on the Word. We learn to look to Christ in all things, great and small. I have a hard time understanding why I can trust God regarding the destiny of my eternal soul while worrying about the trivialities and inconveniences of my day-to-day physical existence. It doesn’t make sense, but it is the way I am. I’m not the only one; I know a lot of Christians who seem to have the same trouble.
It really ought to be that we turn our eyes to the Lord in small things in order to enlarge our trust in Him. Perhaps, though, we are apt to think we can handle the minor stuff ourselves. In some ways, it is easier and more comfortable for us. Still, why not start with a molehill?