The Spark of Faith
Luke 17:6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
I have always wondered at this verse. Tying the power of my prayer to the size of my faith seems to imply a bias towards performance. Or, how hard can I pray? Can I pray hard enough to see an actual tree uprooted and transplanted in the ocean? But, it seems to me that my interpretation is incorrect if I equate my faith with any form of performance on my part, other than belief that what Jesus said is true.
Jesus is only implying that if my faith is of a sufficient size then power will be released.
The Spark of Faith, however, is something different.
I was on a conference call this morning listening to one of my favorite leaders, George Otis, Jr.. George talked about the preponderance of prayer being lifted up around the world. More prayer now than at any time before in history. Which, is obviously a good thing. But, he brought up a troubling point that frames that statistic. With that much prayer, shouldn’t the world be witnessing a commensurate break out of Heaven?
Now I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this, but it seems to me that the above verse should be playing a key role in the answer to that question. Does the lack of “significant” breakthrough on a corporate scale in our world point to a lack of faith? Are all the mustard seeds sterile?
Don’t get me wrong. George can also point to an abundance of places around the globe that are experiencing transformation. But, those instances are each unique and rooted in the desperation of the people that live in those specific locales. The big problems still persist. Moral and social ills seem to continue to grow and become festering sores despite prayer and activism around the globe.
So, where does the faith come from to change a world? Where does the faith come from that changed the communities that we see in the Transformation Videos?
Perhaps, desperate hunger for revival is a key for people already rooted in a specific denomination. Or maybe, innocent childlike faith found in those that are rescued from a life without God. I remember when as a new believer I encountered the supernatural in the form of my Guardian Angel . . . physically. And, I have since read of many instances where new believers without any theological learning, or denominational biases, experienced supernatural events/intervention in their lives, where it seems evident that God Himself sovereignly stepped into their lives, just because He wanted to.
Now that I am a “Mature Believer”, I have also witnessed answers to my own prayers — on an intermittent basis — that amaze me every time. I have seen people healed and changes to my community that can only be attributed to the intervention of God Almighty. But, I have also been disappointed on those instances where I desperately needed an answer to a situation and was met with silence.
So where is the Spark?
I believe it lies somewhere between desperation and that childlike innocence where doubt and care do not exist. A child trusts. The desperate feel they have no other choice and are resigned to prayer as a last resort and through their circumstances are forced to cast all their hopes and cares on Him. Either way nothing is getting in the way of simple faith.
But, then how does it work when you are facing something like worldwide radical islamic terror, or the epidemic of abortion, or any number of rampant worldwide problems? Problems that are described in military terms usually reserved for wars? The war on abortion or the war on poverty to mention a couple.
These problems are corporate problems. They are bigger than just one person. Complex multi-layered problems with historical roots that have been debated and often baptized in blood. The answer to this seems to point to the need for Unity in the Body of Christ. Unity on a most basic level. Unity not for unity’s sake, but true unconditional brotherhood. Back when we were kids, we did not make distinctions between the friends we played with on our block. It never occurred to us to distinguish between colors of skin. Unless, of course you had parents that wouldn’t let you play with “Those Kids”. We need that unconditional acceptance of each other.
This is a world that takes joy from watching us fight amongst ourselves over petty differences. It is crucial that we allow that Spark of Faith to ignite the spiritual DNA of our Mustard Seeds! Pray desperately for that Childlike freedom to accept the radical outworking of The Holy Spirit in your life.
We are after all only little children to Our Father.