If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)
I am guessing you’ve all heard the idea of mustard seed faith. Just as the mustard seed is the smallest seed yet grows into a large plant, nothing with God is impossible, from the smallest and least impressive places God can do great things.
Isn’t that where faith begins? I know a few people who have had radical conversion, but for most of us, we made a decision in the quiet of our hearts to follow Jesus. For me, it was 8th grade on a mission trip to Garden City, SC to help with a local Vacation Bible School. It was late June, a summer storm was coming as I sat with my youth pastor and prayed to accept Jesus. My mustard seed of faith was planted and began to grow. There were other moments . . . a conversation with God under the stars at a Young Life camp, a call to ministry as a junior in college, my wedding day, the birth of my two boys . . . all working to water my mustard seed of faith.
But what about our doubts? At some point, a small seed of doubt gets planted and competes for resources with our faith seed.
Recently, I was reading Seth Haines’ Coming Clean: A Story of Faith. In the book, Haines, a functioning alcoholic, shares his 90-day journal beginning the day he decided to stop drinking. As he reflects on his spiritual journey, Haines recalls the day his parents took him to a faith healer who prayed that he would be healed of his childhood asthma. And then when he wasn’t, a small seed of doubt was planted.
When I think back on my own journey, I can see my own doubt moments . . . the sudden death of my father, a bad relationship, the sudden death of a friend. For you it may be something else . . . divorce of parents, death of a sibling, natural disaster . . . whatever the circumstance, the seed of doubt is planted and can grow and overshadow the quiet seed of faith.
Haines writes, “when I reckoned Jesus had been sidetracked by some other son or daughter needing a miracle . . . I did thing same thing I perceived God was doing: I turned my back and walked away.” How many of us have done the same thing?
From the beginning, the serpent’s plan has been to make us question God . . . to doubt that he really has our best in mind. With a simple question, “Did God really say . . .” he planted the seed of doubt and nothing has been the same since.
So, what next? Do we give in and decide there’s nothing we can do about it? Do we fight the doubt with gratitude? Do we choose to forgive not accuse? Do we spend time reflecting on the uncompromising promises of God for our lives? What seems to help me is remembering and resting in these words . . . “I will never leave or forsake you.”
Recently, a few of our Atlanta friends gathered to watch the premiere of a forthcoming movie, The Heart of Man. It beautifully depicted what this looks like for you and me . . . the image of God relentlessly pursuing us into the cave and setting us free from the chains of doubt.
Scripture: Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you. (1 Chronicles 28:20)
Mentor Tip: When your mentees are sharing their stories, we highly recommend you take notes. This is important for a few reasons. One, it shows you’re listening . . . that you care about who they are and where they have been. And second, as you take notes, you’ll begin to hear those moments where their faith grew and where their doubts began to creep in and you’ll be able to refer back to those specific instances throughout the mentoring season.
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