“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.'”– Luke 17:5
Do you find your faith fading? Does it feel like anxiety takes over more than belief, like the world’s weight is just too much to handle? Unbelief, doubt, anxiety, and fear can go hand-in-hand and seem to be unrelenting opponents and sources of constant struggle in our daily lives. The apostles, Jesus’ closest companions, battled with the same emotions.
When Jesus calmed the sea, He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith” (Matthew 8:26)? When Peter began to sink in the water, Jesus stretched out His hand to catch him and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt” (Matthew 14:31)? And, when they misunderstood the Lord’s warning about the leaven of the Pharisees, Jesus said to them, “you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves” (Matthew 16:8)? Pointing out the weakness in their lives was not to condemn them but to draw those who loved Him closer. It was the same then, and it is the same for us today.
Jesus instructed the apostles to forgive even the most grievous of offenses towards them. He also warned them not to offend others. These were difficult words to hear, and they recognized their inadequacy to live by them. This deep lack of ability to fulfill Christ’s commands caused them to cry, “Lord, increase our faith.” When the Lord’s commands run opposite to our thoughts, the battle within begins raging. We can start to feel inadequate. Our faith may run low, leaving a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. As we attempt to control our consuming thoughts, we confess like the apostle Paul, “for what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15).
The apostles were right to ask Jesus for help. They quickly recognized their need, and humbly admitted their weakness. They confessed their lack of trust in the Lord, something we must all practice more often. God’s Word can seem complicated at times, leaving us thinking, “No way, Lord, that is impossible for me!” It is only impossible when we attempt it on our own. But, if the Lord said it, He will provide the ability to fulfill it. Be quick to recognize inadequacy and never be ashamed to admit it to Jesus; it is normal. Jesus understands and will place His arms around you, and He will lift you up!
“Often times spiritual comforts are at their highest when emotional well-being is at its lowest.”– Unknown