Monday, January 21, 2013

Start Small


As cancer tightened it's grip on Michelle, her faith journey splashed over and became part of my journey too.  

My journey to really live faith.

I had made these nice little printables for Christmas gifts and given them to the ladies in Bible study. It's a familiar verse. One of my favorites still, perhaps because I am such a visual person. This small verse gives hope to people like me.

Hope to believe that a tiny bit of faith can do huge things.  

When the dark reality of Michelle's situation began to unfold she started to grasp for a thread to cling to. The doctors said she didn't have long to live. They were trusted professionals who were highly trained and equipped with tests results and statistics.

They had facts.

She had Jesus.

And she had a mind to just believe that He was bigger than the cancer that had wound itself tight around her body.

In her situation my faith was small.

In general my faith was small.

And who was it that said an unchallenged fair-weathered faith   -is really no faith at all?

When Michelle said that she was praying to be healed I could only look at the outward appearance of things and see that the situation was grim.

But the seed. 

It looked small and seemed crazy if  I couldn't believe that much for her sake.

It is said that as seeds go... the mustard seed is one of the smallest. According to one commentary* "the mustard seed is small in its beginning. In the right soil and condition it begins to grow and a plant can  reach ten, sometimes fifteen feet in height in the fall of the year. Its branches can become rigid, and the plant often serves as a shelter for birds of many kinds."

In contrast the mountain that Jesus had just come down from was thought by ancient people to have deep roots.

So the imagery He paints is that a speck of faith can in fact move the immovable. 

One source* stated that a good translation of that verse is actually  "...less than a mustard seed amount of faith."

Like this seed which seems small and insignificant in the beginning,  our bit of faith teamed up with the the Almighty God can grow to a great magnitude to move deep rooted impossible mountains.

That is how it was on the path of faith for Michelle. This infinitely little bit of faith. Yes. A single grain of faith, cultivated in the soil of humble seeking and trusting hearts.

Her weakness. Our weakness. His strength.

Not just a wish-upon-a-star to make my life lovely, kind of  power.

Not a "please deliver me from this uncomfortable situation" kind of plea.

But a faith that desires God's provision ....

for the glory of God,
the enlargement of the kingdom,
the confirmation of truth,
for the good of those who witnessed the outcome.

I believe that is what happened when Michelle's prayers for healing from stage four cancer were answered. 

She is still a living testimony, wearing a cloak of God's grace, to what a little bit of faith can do. 

There are mountains to face.

And how often I scale the mountains with focused determination. Yet the landscape of my life is dotted with mole-hills that trip me up on any given day. 

Like land mines.

Difficult. Challenging. Annoying.

My heart is so resistant to have faith for the small as well as the obviously impossible.

For some reason I try to handle the "little things."

The person who sent the mean e-mail.

A loved one who keeps the door shut on relationship.

That problem that has nipped at my heels for years. 

All the things I can't fix in the ocean of pain that I see around me.

Jesus said.. because of the smallness of your faith.... this thing hasn't changed.....

I don't know what all can be effected for the kingdom with a shift in faith.

But don't we want to find out?

To take a small step toward kindness.

To run from the offense and embrace the offender?

To stop staring at the problem and start seeing the problem through the light of my God.


What is the small shift a heart can make to start living mustard seed faith

Sowing of seed was always done by hand.

It can be hard work with little obvious progress. But this is written and can be trusted as true.

"If you have faith....."

And the verse ends like this... "nothing will be impossible for you....."

Michelle is the personification of this and I am so grateful to have had my faith built up by her miracle-life.

There is one more verse that I pray often while I'm trying to live out this mustard seed faith.

"Lord I believe.
Help my unbelief."
 Mark 9:24

Yes, whisper that as we scale the mountains and stub our toes on the mole-hills.

What mountain confronts your path?

What mole-hill is tripping you up?

What situation just gnaws at your heart in the night?

What person rips at your soul even as you try to turn the other cheek?

What in your life really needs a miracle to ever be any different than it is today?

Rest your weary wings in that tree of mustard seed faith my friend. Faith in Jesus. Faith that begins with a simple prayer. And what seems like an insignificant speck of a moment grows into a flourishing strong tree that is well rooted and blesses many.

If you think of it, please pray for Michelle.  She is having a routine three month check up. But for a cancer survivor it is never "routine" and every appointment brings with it another opportunity to walk in faith.

Reference: *'William Hendricksen', Commentary on Matthew 

Thanks Amy @ A Moment Photography for taking the printable pics  for me. Love you!

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© Rhonda Quaney