Fear Faith, Part a: Rivers of Faith, Part 11


Suspension bridges at Canyon Ste-AnneSuspension bridges at Canyon Ste-AnneSuspension bridges at Canyon Ste-Anne

"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'" (Matt 17:19 NIV)

Jesus' disciples were baffled. They had been unable to drive a demon out of a youngster. The "why" question was haunting them, just as it often haunts us!

The answer is simple but hard to apply: "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, 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." (Matt 17:20 NIV)

What is faith if you can't conquer your worst fears? What is faith if you are left defeated and discouraged?

One of the things I feared the most was crossing suspension bridges. I was so afraid of these wobbly things that I refused to cross them. I would take a few steps, wave at my eager family, who were generally already on the other side, and then quickly return to safer ground. The way they wiggle from side to side literally terrified me!

Last year I faced three suspension bridges in the same Canyon: Canyon Ste-Anne, in the lovely province of Quebec, Canada. My wobbly legs were shaking initially, but the only way to visit this beautiful canyon was to cross the bridges! I decided to put my faith in Jesus, the One who promised, "In me you may have peace." (John 16:33 NIV). I was going to claim that inner peace no matter what!

Assisted by my wife and the presence of my Lord, I hesitatingly took the first step. Thanks to the eager teenagers ahead of me, the bridge was shaking uncontrollably. But I claimed victory in Jesus and took the second step. The bridge swayed wildly from the left to the right and back again, but by keeping my goal - the other side of this waltzing bridge - in sight, I took another step. I desperately wanted to slow down, to stop. Because I only see from one eye, I only see in two-dimensions and I felt I needed more time to process the steps I was taking! But I didn't stop, and in the end, I made it to the other side.

I would love to say it was by my own might, but it wasn't. Believe me, I had never done anything like this before. If God hadn't sustained me, I wouldn't have made it. Faith really works!

The next suspension bridge was child's play. Hey, I can do all things through the One who sustains me! The more the bridge wiggled, the better! It was, in fact, quite fun! Especially when I stopped in the middle to take pictures. Wow! The fun I've been missing all of these years! Where's the next suspension bridge? I can't wait to go out on it and start jumping up and down!

I conquered my fear of suspension bridges that day in the province of Quebec. God is the One who gave me the victory!

Why though do we so often face defeat?

"Because you have so little faith." (Matt 17:20 NIV)

It was the first time I was able to cross a suspension bridge, my worst fear in life, but the victory had always been mine for the taking, if I had only had enough faith!

What can faith do?

"I tell you the truth, 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." (Matt 17:20 NIV)

What is the secret of the mustard seed?

It's one of the smallest seeds on this earth. Once buried in the ground however, it does not remain tiny. It grows and grows and grows to a tall bush, at times as high as 15 feet! And it grows wildly, moving rocks and stones out of its way in order to reach its full potential. Nothing can hinder its growth.

This kind of faith will move mountains!

We face many mountains during our existence, impasses that seem impossible to move: illnesses, break-ups of relationships, alienations, rejections, criticisms, put downs, job losses…

Faith will tell us it will be OK.

Will we believe in it? It all depends on Who we decide to trust!

"What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:27 NIV)

Do we believe this?

Did you know that Jesus' disciples had faith issues as well? This is one of the reasons why they could not heal that demon-possessed youngster. Do you know when they finally believed? Right before Jesus was arrested! Jesus declared "You believe at last!" (John 16:31 NIV)

Why?

After all that time with Jesus, they finally concluded that He "came from God." (John 16:30 NIV)

And then they abandoned Him when He was arrested!

"If you have faith" (Matt 17:20 NIV)

Too many of us misunderstand this statement. We take it as an assurance of whatever it is we are asking for. We want to be healed, so we decide to believe in healing. We want a spouse, so we decide to believe we will find a spouse.

But this is not the message Jesus is conveying. Our faith should not be limited to believing we will receive what we ask for. Our faith should be much bigger! We need to believe in Jesus, the Christ and how much He loves us! We need to be able to know beyond doubt that God will do what is best for us, even if it may not be specifically what we are asking for! We need to be able to answer as the disciples did: "'You came from God.'" (John 16:30). This is key to faith, friends! To understand that Jesus came from God! And to this answer Jesus replied: "You believe at last!" (John 16:31)

You, too, can conquer your fears. Not by your own might, but by faith in the One who can make it possible. By faith in the love He has for us, by faith in the fact that He will always do what is best for us, even if this may not be what we are specifically asking for! Only then will our mountains be moved! Only then will we see God in His full splendour.

"If you have faith" (Matt 17:20 NIV)

This suspension bridge sure is wobbly! Come on out and join me! It'll be fun!

Rob Chaffart

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