Today I believe the Lord is giving us a link between the last two blogs. We ended the blog the day before yesterday quoting Jesus as He encouraged His disciples saying, ‘I tell you the truth if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there”, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’. It was an encouragement but if, like me, you find yourself on a journey of introspection to ‘see’ if that faith is there in your heart, then you may well find it to be a discouragement.
The thing about those people who came to Jesus and ‘got’ their ‘impossibility’, was that they weren’t looking at themselves but at Jesus. They knew ‘If I could touch His clothes, I will be healed.’ Mark 5:28, or for the centurion it was ‘Say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ Luke 7:7. For Bartimaeus, ‘If I can just get His attention and I can tell Him “Rabbi, I want to see”, Mark 10:51, I will gain my sight’. They knew all the power was His and they just had to get close, catch His eye and put their case. That was their part, they had to have the faith to ‘touch‘ Him in some way, the miracle was His.
The fact is that this ‘grain of mustard seed’ faith, is not about what’s going on inside me, but about who I see Jesus to be for me in the situation. If I see Him as the one ‘who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were’, Romans 4:17 – that He can call into life that which does not exist – then I am half way to having my miracle, to seeing my ‘impossibility’ become possible. All those who saw a miracle in the gospel narrative, came to Jesus because they ‘saw’ that things changed when He was around. They came because they heard about the miracles others had experienced, and they came because they had no other means of seeing their condition or situation change.
When we are facing an impossibility and we look at our faith levels, it can be like being at the bottom of a deep pit with vertical sides. We can feel as if we should we be at the top of those steep sides – full of faith – then we might see the miracle we long for, or the ‘impossibility’ become a reality, but the vertical climb up to that level of faith looks impossible in itself. This is where that wonderful ladder of thanksgiving can help us to climb.
Yesterday we were talking about overflowing with thanksgiving, giving thanks for our food, our health, our salvation, the whole range of things that God pours unstintingly into our lives, until our thanksgiving increases to an overflowing level. I believe the journey to ‘grow our faith’ is a similar one, and as we thank the Lord for every good thing that He does for us, not only will our eyes be off of ourselves, and how much faith we have, but we will see more and more the wonderful friend that we have in Jesus, and His willingness to fight for us and act on our behalf in miraculous ways.
Abraham we are told ‘did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but grew strong in faith giving glory to God, being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able to perform.’ Romans 4:20. We know that he did not manage that perfectly, (trying to help God keep His own promise by having a child with Hagar), but in the end it was God who kept His promise, and Isaac is born to Sarah. His faith grew, I believe, as he would remind himself of the incredible journey he had been on with the Lord since leaving Ur, all those years before.
Going back to the picture of this ladder that is going to help us raise our faith level to the ‘grain of mustard seed’ size, let’s imagine that this ladder reaches from the bottom of the pit to the top, and that each rung is something which the Lord has done for us and for which we can thank him. In this way our own testimony becomes the way in which our faith increases. The rungs of the ladder may also include things that we know that the Lord has done for others, and we can thank Him for those things too. Surely Blind Bartimaeus had heard some stories that propelled him to shout out for Jesus, persisting and creating that stir, and getting his healing.
Choosing to intentionally give thanks for each and every miracle or intervention of God in our lives will surely build our faith, enabling us as to fix our eyes on Jesus our friend, and all He has done for us. We will be growing in faith for all that we need Him to do for us. Step by step, rung by rung we will build our faith, and like the thought that overflowing with thanksgiving can start with the simple and ordinary things aswell as the profound wonders of our salvation, so building our faith can start with observing and thanking God for the small and ‘everyday’ interventions that the Lord does on our behalf, aswell as the miracle of our salvation.
I once heard one of our leaders say, “The way you receive a miracle will probably determine how soon you see the next one, and how big the next one will be”. I don’t have chapter and verse for that but I think I’m with Abraham in this, that I will give God all the glory I can when I see a miracle (however ‘Small’) and I will use it as a rung on my ladder, as I fix my eyes on Jesus and grow in faith for the next one.