When Having Faith Seems Out of Reach

Olu JegedeDevotional

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“Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to
please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and
that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This verse seems quite clear.  God requires faith from his people in order to reward them.  Yet a few questions come to my mind? – Why does God require faith as a condition for being pleased? – Isn’t he already pleased with us? – And how does one have faith? – Why do some not have faith?

I ask these questions particularly because
Jesus lamented about the faithless contemporaries of his day – whether it be
the disciples or the pharisees.

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless
and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer
you?”  (Matthew 17:17)

He actually seemed surprised, as if it was
a mind-boggling thing that people would doubt the existence/goodness of
God.  Further, particularly for the
unbelieving non- disciples, Jesus made it clear that their faithlessness would ultimately
result in their spiritual demise.

Jesus holds us accountable to being faithless firstly because faith is a natural response to a supernatural God.

It had been a busy day of teaching, and
performing miracles, and Jesus wanted to rest. As he was sleeping in the hull
of the ship, a storm erupted out of nowhere. 

The disciples did all they could to steady
the boat but nothing worked. It seemed like their fate was sealed and they
would drown.  They wondered, “How could our
master Jesus still be asleep?” Finally, they woke him up in a frantic panic but
he simply commanded the waves to be still and the storm subsided.

That day Jesus rebuked them for their
little faith because he was amazed that they, who had seen so many miracles
earlier the same day, would not trust that God was powerful enough to save
them.  Indeed, Jesus would have expected
that, if they had fully believed in God’s power, they would have calmed the
storm themselves.

I recently traveled to Calgary, Canada, and
it brought back memories of my honeymoon where my wife and I visited the
Rockies, in Banff and British Columbia. 
The snowcapped mountains, glassy turquoise lakes, and the vastness of
wooded forests, to me, all point toward a creator.   

That’s why the Psalmist laments, “the fool
says in his heart there is no God”. 
Faith is supposed to be an acknowledgment that God exists, that he is
inordinately mightier than us, thus we should look to him.

Secondly, on a more personal level, I believe
Jesus holds us accountable to being faithless because faith is a trust between
a parent and a child

See, faith can be defined as trust or
confidence in someone.  And whom do we
tend to trust most other than our family.  
This trust in loved ones tends to be foundational to our belief and
trust in other people

This is why when family lets us down,
particularly at a tender age, it may affect our ability to trust others and
cause us to doubt in the goodness of God in our adult years.  Our faith in God is simply an extension of
our ability to trust the ones we love. 

Jesus was amazed that the people of the day
would not trust in God. After all God was their father through the covenant
with Abraham, and thus he lamented in Matthew 17 at the perversion of their faithlessness.

I would be very devastated if my children
thought I couldn’t be there for them in their hour of needs.  However, it pleases me to see that they can
confidently come to me to ask me for anything they want.  God takes pleasure in us having faith,
because it means we believe in who he is.

Finally, I think Jesus holds us accountable
to being faithless because faith is freely given, meaning we all have access to
it.

That’s right, faith is a gift.  That’s why Paul tells the church in Rome that
everyone has received a certain measure of faith.  And likewise, beyond the Church, God provides
everyone an opportunity to believe.  Paul
intimated this in Acts 17, when he spoke on Mars Hill about the eternal longing
of man, and the sovereignty of God in revealing himself.

And so it’s no wonder that Jesus holds his
disciples, the pharisees, his generation, and indeed all of humanity
accountable for not having faith.  All
are given a chance to believe, and honestly I don’t understand why many don’t
believe (Even Christians doubt him in so many ways).    In truth, we may never understand the
inequity of belief in people, but rest assured God though sovereign is also just
and he gives everyone a chance to believe and to know him.

Are you in a situation today where you just
don’t seem to have enough faith to handle your current lot in life?  Are things spiraling out of control, and are
you wondering where God is?  Do not fret!
God wants to abide with you, and journey with you through this tough
situation.  If it’s more faith you need,
rest assured, he will give it to you if you only seek him.  In order to gain this faith though, he wants
you to know him more intimately.  For in
knowing him better, you will be able to have more confidence that he is truly
in control.

– Pastor Olu Jegede