[The boy's father said,] "... If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!" Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen." No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, "Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"
(Mark 9:22-24, Msg)
Is it possible to be filled with faith and doubt at the same time? Yes!
You can have faith that God wants you to do something and still be scared to death. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is going ahead and doing what you're called to do in spite of your fear.
You have to begin with the faith you already have: it may be just a little, but you start there. A beautiful example of this is the story of the man who brought his sick son to Jesus in Mark 9. Jesus looked at the man and said, "I can heal your son. If you will believe, I will heal him."
The father then makes a classic statement: "Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief."
Have you ever felt like that? "Lord, I have some faith. But I also have some doubts." This man was filled with faith and doubt, yet despite his honest doubts, he went ahead and asked Jesus for a miracle. And he got his miracle – Jesus healed his son.
No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is, it's enough. Pastor, it's enough to get you through what you're facing, and it's enough to complete the vision God has planted in your heart.
Matthew 17:20 says, "If you have faith as small as the mustard seed, nothing will be impossible to you." That's not a lot of faith; in fact, it's just a little faith. But what else does that verse teach? "If you have faith as the mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, 'Move' and it will be moved."
Mustard seed faith moves mountains. Don't get this reversed. We like to read this verse backward. We want it to say, "If you have faith like a mountain you can move a mustard seed" – as if it takes enormous faith to do a very little task.
Everybody has faith. You had faith this morning when you ate your cereal -- faith that your spouse didn't put poison in your granola! Ha! You had faith when you sat down in your computer chair -- faith that it wouldn't collapse.
Everybody has faith; the difference is what you put your faith in.
Sometimes people will tell me they don't want to join Saddleback until all their questions are answered; or they don't want to make a commitment to Christ until they understand it all.
It's not uncommon for a pastor to tell me he doesn't want to start a new ministry until all his doubts are cleared up.
But that's not the way it works. If that was the way to approach ministry, it wouldn't take any faith at all.
Instead, God wants you start with the faith you have, and based on the example of the mustard seed, you don't need a whole lot of faith to do great things for God. You just need a little.
So here's a trustworthy equation:
Little faith+Big God=Huge results
You take your little faith;
"Lord, I believe! Help me with my unbelief!"
And you put it in our big God,
And then he'll show you how he works out huge results.
This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry. www.pastors.com.