“”Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, 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.””
Matthew 17:19-20, NLT
The text is intriguing; it seems to direct us to consider the unbelief of the disciples. They had tried so hard to do what Jesus wanted; they get an “A” for effort, but they can’t heal this boy. They correctly discern a demons presence, but they are stymied after trying to exorcise it.
The disciples “crash and burn” is uppermost in their hearts. They have a private meeting with Jesus to determine what went wrong. Their expectations were running high; they expected success in this encounter with darkness. After all, weren’t they Jesus elite followers?
“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.”
John 12:37, NIV
Jesus is on his way to be crucified. It would be fair to say that his mind was occupied with this. He is still performing healings for the needy, and although awesome things are happening, the crowds remained doubting. They would remain uncertain about him, and many would go on to mock and revile him in just a few days.
Doubt is an insidious thing. It allows one to see, but not respond. It seems to be a cowardly attitude that masks itself as safety and security. There is a willingness not to make a response when that is precisely what is being called for. It is content to live uncommitted and remain unaffiliated. Truth is neutered and we want it to be so.
I certainly don’t mean to be overly harsh to those with doubts. But there are some who put their faith in their doubts and that is slightly disturbing. They see, but do not perceive. They hear, but do not really listen.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Believers who doubt are in a strange place. But saving faith is always growing, in spite of one’s own skepticism. Questions are to be welcomed; honest inquiry is not a threat, but an issue of a seeking heart. Faith without evidence is no better than superstition. I think believers who never ever doubt are “a freak of nature.” Our faith may struggle, and hard questions be asked, but my faith still holds even when I doubt.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
We are to grow in our faith. The Bible describes it as “life.” To be a believer in Jesus is a journey of confidence and hope (these words have been carefully chosen). When we find ourselves without these two working in our hearts we become unbelieving believers.
Maybe we should doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith.
“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”