A Tiny Faith

by Meredith Johnson

Faith has been the theme in chapel this year, and it has been popping up in other areas of my own life as well – so it often goes when God is trying to teach us something! I can’t get the images of tiny things out of my head – a cloud as small as a man’s hand, a little cake made from flour and oil, and a mustard seed.

In I Kings 18, Elijah is instructed to pray for rain. Six times, he prays and visits the edge of the sea to find nothing. Finally, the seventh time, he goes back and sees a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea. A cloud that size hardly sounds menacing to me! Yet, Elijah tells Ahab to prepare his chariot and go down, so that the “heavy shower” does not stop him. In our own lives, after praying six times, or six months, or six years, how often do we want to give up? Yet Elijah continued to pray. He had faith that a heavy shower would come from almost nothing. And all it took to answer his prayer in abundance was a cloud the size of a man’s hand. God is so amazing and good to us!

Earlier in I Kings 17, a widow, desperate, lonely and full of only despair, replied to Elijah, “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it – and die.” This widow has nothing left, nothing left to give. But the prophet replies, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” So the widow went and did exactly what he said! She had enough left for one meal for her and her son only, yet she obeyed through faith. Because of God’s goodness and His provision to her, “there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” Every day they had enough. Every day, God alone is enough– even through just two tiny jars.

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells the people, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” A mustard seed – typically about one or two millimeters in diameter! Moving mountains! How comforting, when my faith waivers and feels too small to endure…too small for God’s goodness.

May we thank our Father in Heaven for bountiful blessings each day despite our “tiny faith,” and may we pray for our hearts to be transformed with a mighty faith through His grace alone.