For the video teaching on this, please link to our 721 Ministries Videos on Vimeo.
Over the years I have heard well-meaning Christians (to give them the benefit of the doubt) say something like, “God hasn’t answered your prayers because your faith is not strong enough.” That is very worrisome for me, because I think I fail on every count for having the faith to move mountains. But in Mark nine we see just how big our faith must be, and thankfully we can all breathe a big sigh of relief.
Jesus is coming down from the mountain where he was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, and there is a crowd gathered around the disciples. As Jesus arrives a man steps forward and says,
“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
The boy is brought over to Jesus, with the demon reeking all kinds of havoc on the poor lad. The father asks Jesus to heal his boy – “if you can” – and Jesus responds the same way he would respond to us:
23 “‘If I can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
A wonderful truth, and one we all want to receive and appropriate into our lives: “Anything and everything is possible for one who believes.” But darn, this takes me right back to where we started: “How big does my ‘believe’ have to be?” The father’s response gives us the answer:
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
If there is even the remotest truth to the idea that it takes huge faith to move God to move for us, then Jesus should say to this father, “Well, that is just not enough faith. Come back when you have strengthened your trust, and have eliminated your unbelief. I won’t act until you do.” Or, “Come back with a group of prayer warriors; the more the better, and we’ll see.”
But instead, Jesus immediately heals the boy. Apparently the father’s struggle with his unbelief does not disqualify him. Whew! I often feel exactly like this father. I want to believe Jesus will move mountains for me and I do believe that he has the power to do so. But I hesitate to ask him to, because I know he knows all about my unbelief lurking inside my heart.
I love this father! He confessed in desperation, “I am trying to believe, Jesus, but I cannot get there. You have to help me believe that you can and that you will do this, because on my own, I am too riddled with doubt.”
Perhaps this is just the kind of honesty Jesus is looking for. Perhaps this is the mustard seed faith that will indeed move mountains.