We cannot exercise our faith beyond what we believe to be possible. —John G. Lake
Sometimes “belief” is raised up as a measure of spiritual character and that can put a lot of pressure on a person. The super-elite spiritual people supposedly have a lot of it, and the rest of us losers just struggle to hang on to the little bit that we have. First of all, that totally doesn’t fit what Jesus taught about faith and mustard seeds. Second, it doesn’t reflect the fact that many of the main characters in the Bible rode roller coasters of belief most of their lives—and yet, God moved through many of them in mighty ways. And it doesn’t fit with another observation Paul makes about Abraham and his belief:
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith... (Romans 4:20)
Faith is something that is strengthened over time. You don’t get one shot that lasts your whole life. Do you know how long Sarah and Abraham waited for God to fulfill His promise? Almost 13 years! Abe and Sarah weren’t traveling to the best infertility clinics in Palestine all these years; they weren’t getting their “readings” from the lab or trying various procedures. (At their age, it’s doubtful they could do anything!)
No, they were just waiting, taking care of the flocks, keeping the tent dust free, cooking meals, cleaning dishes… and waiting. Thirteen years is a long time—plenty of time for Abraham’s faith to be made stronger than it was at the time he received the promise. And remember, at the time of the promise, he had plenty of questions and doubts. What’s to be learned from this?
Belief is consistent in its progress.
That encourages me. That means that where I am today in my belief is not where I will have to be tomorrow. I have a full lifetime to be strengthened in faith and to be bolstered in my belief. So do you!
God of Grace, thank You, thank You, thank You. Thank You that the little bit of faith I do have is enough because You are so perfectly faithful. Continue to strengthen my faith today so my belief can progress consistently! Amen.