I have been a person of faith (in the generic sense) for a long time… most of my life actually. I was and am the son of a preacher man. This did not guarantee my faith, but it did contribute to my proximity to the stuff of faith. I heard stories from the Scriptures and modern life of what it meant to have faith. Stories of unquestioning trust and the absence of doubt.
As I matured I began to see my own weakness as it related to faith. Particularly in moments of personal pain or worse… the pain of others that I could not help… I often felt my faith in God being stretched and stressed.
It was in these times that I revisited the teaching of Jesus on the true nature of faith. Jesus had a way of humanizing the very things that we seem to over-spiritualize. He does it in this context by talking about what true faith looks like. The picture I get is that our faith does not need to be huge or deep to be significant.
Jesus illustrates this principle of proportion with the mustard seed. I hesitated to use this picture (to the left) because it makes mustard seeds look much larger than they are… until you see the scale at the bottom… 20 millimeters… wow! That’s not very big at all.
So Jesus seems to be saying that in order for us to truly be people of faith, we need only to have a measurable portion of belief. Elsewhere he said we must have the simple trust of a child. This encourages me.
For years I actually carried a small plastic bag that had real mustard seeds in it. I could hardly believe how small they were. Smaller than sesame seeds. This day may we rejoice in knowing that genuine faith is not the absence of doubt but the presence of trust. I may (will) have a thousand questions for God when I see Him face to face. This is not unbelief. Because ultimately my ironically God-given faith in Him proves that I am relying/trusting/believing that He is all and in all.