In Matthew 17:20 we see Jesus explain to the disciples the power of a faith-filled ministry. The disciples had tried to cast out a demon, but were unsuccessful (Matt 17:14-19). They ask Jesus why they could not do it and he reveals that the reason is their lack of faith: “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’” (Matt 17:20).
Jesus helps us see that even a little bit of genuine faith in Christ can lead to wonderful and amazing results. The mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds, so Jesus is saying that it is not about how much faith you as a Christian have, but that you have some. It is this little bit of faith—rather than unbelief—that can result in the seemingly impossible changes (mountains moving) take place.
I know that I have things in my life I would love to see happen, things that at this moment seem utterly impossible. I long to see family members and friends come to faith in Christ. I long to see certain situations resolved. I long to see healing and transformation come about.
Yet the sad fact is how often my heart is in state of unbelief and cynicism. I can easily rely on my own understanding, instead of in the Lord’s power and provision.
In this it seems that we are best helped by the words of a man in Scripture who also struggled to believe. He brought his sick daughter to the disciples who were unable to heal her. Then he spoke to Jesus and in his interaction with Jesus his little faith is exposed, ‘If you can do anything, have compassion on us” (Mark 9:22). To which Jesus responded, “’If you can’! All things are possible one who believes.’” (9:23). The father’s response is so memorable and can become ours in our own struggles with faith and belief: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (9:25).
Lord, help my unbelief. I want to trust you to work powerfully in myself and in the lives of others, I want to trust you with things in my life that seem impossible. I believe; Lord help my unbelief.