48. WHAT FAITH CAN DO

There is a song that I grew up singing as a child in Sunday evening classes held at Church for little children like myself. It went:

Faith in God can move a mighty mountain
Faith can calm the troubled sea
Faith can make the desert like a fountain
Faith will bring the victory.

Have faith in God (x2)
Have faith in God for deliverance
Have faith in God
.

I haven’t heard this song in ages but it is still so very true. Having faith, not just in faith itself or in self or in the atmosphere or anything else BUT IN GOD, can indeed move a mighty mountain.

In our lives, we are often faced with problems, trouble, challenges that seem so insurmountable in our own strength, that they seem to defy solutions. Collectively, they seem like a formidable mountain, refusing to move no matter what we do. Yet, God’s Word reminds us that no matter the height, length or breadth of the mountain, faith in God, can move it. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus himself told his disciples: “…for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and NOTHING shall be impossible unto you.”

This does not mean that we get to walk around just willing things as we please through faith and it comes to pass. Our faith must be rooted to God, not to ourselves. It is in HIM, not us, that the power lies and therefore it is only HE, not us, that can make a difference in our lives and situation.

Our faith must therefore be in him, his power, his wisdom and his sovereignty. For, God never loses his sovereignty. Once we have faith in HIM, HE (not us), removes whatever seems mountainous in our lives, when we ask him in FAITH for it to be removed but provided that it is HIS will to do it.

We must never forget this or ever think that faith somehow transfers God’s power to us, so that we can then have our own power and do as we please and will as we please without accountability. God does not just hand his children a blank check to do as they please, once they have faith in HIM but he maintains control. He removes our “mountains” if it is his will to do so, so the power remains vested in him. While faith as a mustard seed is enough to have our mountains removed therefore, those mountains will only be removed if it is God’s will and timing for them to be removed.

Rightly dividing the Word of God and searching the scriptures (not just one scripture), lets us know this. For example, 1 John 5:14-15 puts things into perspective, when John stated to those that belonged to the Lord Jesus and believed on him by FAITH:

  • “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Having highlighted that very important fact and the parameters in which our faith is allowed to operate, we ought not to underestimate what faith in the Lord can achieve. Many of the people who Jesus healed in the Bible, he healed them through the faith that they had in him. They believed that he could do what seemed naturally impossible and he chose in his sovereignty to honour that faith.

In Mark 5:24-34 for example, after acting in faith, by believing that if she just got the opportunity to touch the hem of Jesus’ clothing, she would be healed of her seemingly never-ending blood disease, Jesus commended a woman for her faith, telling her that it was this faith that had made her whole. Jesus meant that it was through her faith that he had chosen to operate, to bring her the healing she desired.

The Word of God states:

  • “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
  • And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy FAITH hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

Similarly, when Jairus came to Jesus for help because his daughter was dying, when, after Jesus delayed, Jairus later received news that it seemingly was too late because his daughter had died, Jesus encouraged him not to give up hope, even then. He told him in Mark 5:36, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Fear is the opposite of faith. Jesus was therefore telling him to still have FAITH in him, though all seemed hopeless. No matter how impossible it seemed now because his daughter was dead, he still wanted Jairus to look to him (Jesus) in FAITH and not become despondent. He then proceeded to go to Jairus’ house and raised his undeniably dead daughter back to life.

In Matthew 8:2-3, in faith, a leper told Jesus that if he (Jesus) willed it, he could heal him of his leprosy. The leper was basically saying that he believed in faith, that Jesus had the power to heal him and that if he willed it, it would be done. In response to his faith, Jesus told him that he willed it for him to be healed and he healed him. The Word of God states:

  • “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

Later on, in Matthew 8, Jesus again commended a centurion’s faith in him and chose to operate through that great faith, to heal his servant. The centurion believed that Jesus, as the Son of God was powerful enough to heal his servant without having to physically go to the place where his servant was lying. As a man in authority, he understood how authority worked and understood that Jesus was the ultimate authority, him being the Creator of all things.

The scripture states:

  • “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great FAITH, no, not in Israel… And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and AS THOU HAST BELIEVED, SO BE IT DONE UNTO THEE. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”

Faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, to do anything, can therefore move a mighty mountain, no matter how formidable or intimidating that mountain looks. Whether it be a mountain of financial lack, unemployment, singleness without a decent suitor in sight, age, barrenness, sickness, whatever, JESUS IS ABLE TO MOVE IT. IF HE WILLS IT, HE CAN CHOOSE TO OPERATE THROUGH YOUR FAITH, IF YOU HAVE IT, TO REMOVE IT.

In Isaiah 41,10 and 14, God called upon his people not to fear because HE would help them get rid of the mountainous problems that they were facing. Given that the opposite of fear is faith, he was calling upon them to have faith IN HIM. He told them, through his Prophet:

  • “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness… Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

The Lord went further to state of their difficulties and problems which, like a mountain, seemed to be insurmountable:

  • “Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: THOU SHALT THRESH THE MOUNTAINS, AND BEAT THEM SMALL, AND SHALT MAKE THE HILLS AS CHAFF. THOU SHALT FAN THEM, AND THE WIND SHALL CARRY THEM AWAY, AND THE WHIRLWIND SHALL SCATTER THEM: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16)

God was telling them to have faith in Him and that he would empower them to move those very mountains. He would give them power to thresh or break up those mountains, to beat them small and to make the hills as chaff. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word ‘chaff’ means the seed coverings and other debris that are separated from the seed when threshing grain and therefore, that are comparatively worthless. The Lord was therefore basically telling them, that the mountains and hills that they faced today, would be no more, whenever he was ready to intervene powerfully to help them.

This holds beautiful application to us as Christians today. We are God’s people and he wants us to have faith in him and in his power to do what seems to be impossible. No matter the challenge, the obstacle, the trial, the doctor’s report, people’s opinions, the naysayers, the doubters or if it seems like too much time has passed or there is too much dearth around us or if we feel like weaklings, God wants us to find strength in him, to hope in him and to still believe that, if it is his will to do it, he can still do it.

Once it is his will to do it, if we have faith as a mustard seed, then no matter the mountain, when he comes and intervenes, it will be removed. When he intervenes on our behalf and for the sake of HIS testimony, the mountains we see today, we will see them no more!

This reminds me of what Moses told the children of Israel, as a mountainous problem seemed to surface. After they had left Egypt, the Egyptians were in hot pursuit of them and they were seemingly trapped with no where to go. On one side, the Egyptians were fast approaching and on the other, was the red sea.

The natural thing to do was to panic because they seemed stuck. They truly did not know what to do. Yet, Moses told them:

  • “…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

Addendum

As I wrote this Article this morning, borne out of my morning devotions in Isaiah 41, God used it to minister to my very soul. Like some of you, there are some ‘mountains’ in my life that I am facing and which I have been facing for many years. I have therefore been feeling stuck because they have been keeping me from moving forward.

I have wondered if to continue hoping, given that so much time has passed without any change. I believe that God is able and that nothing is too hard for him to do and therefore, I have the faith that he can remove these mountains. However, because he hasn’t for so many years, I have wondered if it is his will to remove them. I therefore prayed to God this morning, telling him that I have the faith, that beyond any doubt, he can remove these ‘mountains’ in my life. I told him though that because I did not know if it was his will to remove them, sometimes I wondered if mine was a case of hope deferred, making the heart sick. To hope requires effort and I sort of wanted to know if I should just accept my situation or if I should keep on hoping, despite how much time had passed.

Yet, I admitted to the Lord that I was still hoping. It refused to die. At this late hour, I was still hoping that the Lord would intervene to work the miracles I needed in my life to remove my mountains and help me to move forward. Even at this late hour, when all seemed lost and everybody around me has accepted that these mountains (one of which is singleness), will always be in my life, I know that the Lord Jesus can and so, I continue to hope that one day, I will open my eyes and these mountains will be gone! I will have a clear view of the horizon and be able to make beautiful strides forward.

(Written on 7th November, 2022)

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