Faith of a Mustard Seed

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So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “

There is an old saying, that I am about to butcher I’m sure. It goes a little something like this:

“In every family, there is a black sheep.”

That statement is supposed to be taken in the context of that one kid in every family who consistently drives the parents bananas with the questionable life choices said kid chooses faithfully. Watching the child grow up, is like watching a train barrel down the tracks headed straight at a solid wall. Apparently the conductor’s view is block, preventing a clear line of sight. Instead of yanking the breaks and stopping, she actually speeds up. As a spectator to the impending disaster, you feel helpless.

And there it is. I said it out loud (or maybe I just wrote it out loud). I feel helpless. You see, Misty and I have a couple of those “sheep” in the family. It’s hard to watch your children purposely choose paths that will lead to the same mistakes you’ve made in the past. It’s especially hard when you’ve warned them of the dangers, but they choose the paths anyway. It’s like they actually think they have secret information that will completely change the outcome of their foolish decisions.

Sometimes I look up in the sky–I mean literally–and ask God, “Are you seeing this?! What are you doing up there?! Is this our fault?”

Yeah, I know; I know. It’s rude. Don’t tempt God. Don’t question His motives. I get it. I really do. But I still struggle with trusting His plans, when my kids are doing truly stupid stuff. Sometimes my faith doesn’t feel as if it’s as big as a mustard seed; and that’s a problem! Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? Just take a glance at the picture up there! Luke 17:6 tells me all I need is for my faith to figuratively be that size, and I could literally uproot a tree. So, if I can’t pray my kids into better life choices, maybe my faith is broken. That sounds like logic, right? Nope. That sounds like a bunch of egotistical false-religion jiberish. And yet, I have to fight the urge to believe in it.

Parenting isn’t easy, and just because your kids grow into young adults doesn’t make parenting any easier than it already wasn’t. In fact, as they grow older, their bad decisions grow bolder and bigger. Watching them make mistakes becomes an exercise in faith training, for real. Seriously, my wife and I came to the realization a long time ago, that we cannot direct their steps. We don’t have the power to do it. Sure, we can take ’em to church, but we can’t force them to develope a relationship with Jesus. We can tell them of the dangers of the night life, but we can’t force them to lock themselves away after a certain hour. We can give them the ole, “Choose-your-friends-wisely” speech, but we can’t force them to stay away from certain people. Ultimately, we parents have no power over the lives of our children.

But we have the power of prayer, and we have faith in God. I believe in Romans 8:28, I believe God has a plan for my kids and I believe He keeps His promises. They may not come to pass in my time-frame, but He never lies and He’s always faithful. So, in the times that I feel like my faith is weak–especially concerning my hard-headed kids–I try to remember God’s word and I try to remember that He can be trusted.

Faith is a constant exercise. Don’t think that the folks who appear to have it altogether really do. They struggle with faith, too. Their struggles may be on a different level than yours, but make no mistake; the struggle is just as real. It’s hard to look beyond the circumstances you see, but that’s where faith grows. Right there in that space between what you can see with your eyes, and what you believe will come to pass in your heart, that’s where faith grows.