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Have Faith In Faith

by Tim O'Hearn

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

Do we believe this passage? Do we have faith? I am not asking if we have faith in God. Do we have faith in faith? Do we believe that faith has the power to move trees or mountains? No doubt that faith must be anchored in God, but Jesus didn’t say that. He said if you had faith that what you said would happen, it would happen.

Very often we are more like the father who cried “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mk 9:24).” As honorable as that request is, as necessary as that request is, it is an admission that I don’t have faith in my faith. If you asked a hundred people if they pray enough, 99 people would say “no” even if they were regular and earnest in prayer. If you asked the same 100 people if they had enough faith, they would probably give the same answers. No matter whether the answer should be yes or no, we almost naturally don’t have faith in our faith.

I recently read a story about Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. After teaching a stirring lesson about the meaning of faith, he was approached by a disciple who asked if he meant that if he had perfect faith in God, God would provide all his needs. When the Rabbi affirmed that, the disciple went on to say, “Good. If that is the case I need no longer work. I will devote myself to study of Torah and God will provide the 20,000 rubles I will need to survive.” The man went home and began study, not working. After but a week he returned to the Rabbi with the complaint, “I have the faith, but so far no money has arrived.” Rabbi Yisrael said, “I tell you what. I will offer you 8,000 rubles cash today if you will commit yourself to give me the 20,000 rubles that you expect will come because of your faith.” The man jumped at the deal. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter replied, “Who in his right mind would give up 20,000 rubles for a mere 8,000 rubles? Only someone who does not have perfect faith that he will receive the 20,000 rubles! Obviously you have more faith in my 8,000 rubles than in God’s 20,000!” (Taken from Drasha, ©2001 by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky and Torah.org)

We believe God will solve all our problems. We give them to him in prayer and in faith. But like this man, we give up on our faith after only a week. Our faith says, I will give it to you God, but while I am waiting I will try to fix it myself. We are like the kid who takes a toy airplane to his dad to fix it, but wants to play with it before the glue is dry.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt 6:31-33)
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