Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20 “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.”
Recently, I began to think of this statement and how small a mustard seed is. According to Wikipedia;
Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 or 2 mm in diameter. Mustard seeds may be coloured from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional foods.
That’s how small a faith we need to move a mountain, to get us through our hard times – about 1 or 2mm in diameter!, So tiny isn’t it? minute – extremely small in size, you can barely see it!
To give some perspective on the size; if you don’t have a mustard seed, then look at a point on the end of a pencil. That’s about the size of a mustard seed. My aim here is to provide a picture of how small a faith we need to move a mountain, to deal with something that is overwhelming, daunting, and seemingly impossible in our life. The mountain only God can overcome but faith although tiny must be something we need to exercise to produce the result – something real and tangible that you attribute to God’s love and compassion for you. It could be just simple trusting in his Word, believing and proclaiming his promises, praying or worshipping through difficult times.
Seems like it’s not enough? Well, Jesus says “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountain” and if Jesus says it then it must be true.
Think of how big a mountain is? How can a tiny mustard seed move a mountain? Well, our mustard seed faith helps us to connect to God and through him all things are possible.
“If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
Jesus has attributed to us a measure of faith but like anything we have to continually sow and invest in it in order to reap the benefits, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Roman 12:3 states;
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Paul encouraged Timothy to “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14)
Be encouraged that God will not give us any more than we can handle but through the same difficulty that you are facing he will provide a way out and the ability to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Well I don’t know if that isn’t great news for you but I certainly find this very encouraging! Knowing that in all things, whatever difficulty I am facing God works everything out for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
And yes he works in mysterious ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (King James Version)
I am not good at telling stories so please bear with me if you know this story and I haven’t got it quite right. A friend once told me of a man who was shipwrecked on an island. He prayed to God to save him and God asked him to push the mountain that was on the island. For months this man pushed the mountain but it wouldn’t move and so he got angry with God. God then told him to go to the other side of the mountain and start pushing. The man did this for months but still nothing happened. He got even angrier with God and told him that he is just trying to play a joke on him as this mountain is still not moving. Then God told him to swim across from one side of the mountain to the other. This he continued to do for months. By this time this man had enough and started to scream at God. God then told him to push down a tree which he did and then God instructed him to build a raft from the fallen tree and sail across from the island.
The moral of the story is that when the man first landed on the island he was too weak to even attempt to swim across or build a raft. God had to strengthen him and over time in pushing the mountain and swimming he was able to build up his muscle so that he could push down the tree to build a raft to get him across from the island.
Sounds silly but at times God has to put us through situations to strengthen our faith —trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith – important spices in life to enable us to build up our faith! Sounds trivial?
It is through trials that faith is exercised and developed more and more.
Why doesn’t God help me through my troubles? God really has a purpose behind our problems. He uses problems to refine and improve us. ”You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” Gen 50:20 (NIV)
We see in the Psalms how David went through much more and still continue to trust and obey God. David knew God intimately and trusted him wholeheartedly and God refer to him as a man after his own heart.
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22)
No one like going through trials, in fact we do everything to get out of them. Learn to see trials as opportunities to gain more strength and maturity, and even obtaining a larger measure of God’s grace. Only then our trials can and will become our tools to grow and learn to be our best for His highest. God is able to turn things that seem against us in his own time and way. What we need to do is get out of his way, exercise our mustard seed faith and allow Christ to work through our difficulties. And this is how we become more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom 8: 37-39)
Need comfort in your trials? Here’s some good news! 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 reassures us;
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
And when it is over, we will look back and see that our trials have been necessary. … God wants to use our problems for good, to teach us precious lessons, to teach us to rely on him and to make us better and stronger Christians so that we are able to help others in their lives and encourage them through their difficulties.
It’s for our personal and spiritual development!
So in your trials draw closer to God and like David be intimately connected to him , wholeheartedly trust him and watch him work through your difficulties.
So don’t ever lose hope and give up, everything will turn out okay – the good guy always wins. 🙂
I could go on encouraging myself or perhaps you, but I need to cycle. 🙂
Faith can move mountain! A mustard seed size will do!
[Reflections by K.M. Roach 04/09/2012]