I don’t know very much about mustard seeds. Personally, I don’t like mustard at all (eww); I don’t even like the way it smells. But, since it’s in Scripture, I thought I’d learn a thing or two. Did you know, that back in Jesus’ day, it was common to say something was like a mustard seed if it was very, very small. Another cool thing about mustard seeds is that the mustard plant can be considered a weed because of how quickly and widely it can spread (given all the tiny seeds). And lastly, a mustard plant or bush can grow to be unusually large given the right conditions…all from that tiny little seed!
Matthew 17:20. The reason this is all important, is because of one verse that literally got me through my pregnancy with Kennedy – Matthew 17:20 that says, “He said to them, “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.” I remember saying, praying, probably every day, that given my past experience with pregnancy, I didn’t think this pregnancy could result in a healthy baby girl. BUT, with a tiny bit of faith, I could believe that even if my body wasn’t capable, God could do ALL things. He can move mountains, raise people from the dead, and He could knit together a perfect baby despite my own inadequacy. That tiny bit of faith helped me carry on throughout 9 months. Then, through sharing our story, our faith spread far and wide, giving other people hope. And then, because of what God did in our lives, our faith has grown to be HUGE because we’ve seen Him answer our prayers time and time again.
Sometimes though (and I’ve been there) it’s hard to believe. Mark 9:24 says, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Our pastor often points out that every word in Scripture is important, and God wanted this specific sentence added so that in times where it’s hard to believe, we can STILL believe that God can do all things. He can answer that prayer you’ve been praying so long that you want to give up. He can answer that prayer that seems impossible right now. So, if all it requires for God to move in our lives is just a tiny bit of faith, then why aren’t we praying boldly for these desires God has put on our hearts? Do we think we’ll get let down? Do we not want to get our hopes up? Is it easier to just sit back and be comfortable, be okay with the status quo, the mundane? Well, I think it’s time that we start praying big, bold prayers, ones that literally require divine intervention to see them come to fruition.
“If your dreams aren’t big enough that they require you to depend on God to make them happen, then you aren’t dreaming big enough.” This quote was life-changing for me. I heard it from Dave Ferguson at a conference a couple years ago. I think really what it comes down to is this: God wants an intimate relationship with us. If we are depending on God for these prayers, for next steps, then we’re walking closely with our true source of life. Isn’t it always that He gives us a big picture, a dream, and never gives us the full blueprint to accomplish it? Super frustrating for control freaks (He knows me so well). What He knows about us is that if we knew the whole picture, every step to get there, then we’d just run with it and forget that we need God in the process. We’d do it all on our own strength and end up exhausted. God always just gives us that next step so that we stay close to Him. I’m reading this book now called, Draw the Circle, and it’s been so amazing. The basic theme throughout is that we need to start praying big prayers, impossible prayers, prayers that ONLY God can answer because when we do that, God gets all of the glory. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of our lives as Christians?
So my question to you is this – what’s the one thing you’ve been dreaming about, the one thing you’ve been pleading for, the one thing you’ve been praying for so long you are losing hope? What’s the thing that seems so out of reach or impossible that it would literally require God’s intervention to accomplish? Is it a healed marriage, a spouse, a child? Is it a healthy pregnancy, the cancer to vanish, that new job? Think about it and write it down.
P.E.S.H. One thing my husband talked about recently is P.E.S.H (I mean, I guess he has good ideas sometimes – kidding, he’s the smart one in this equation). It simply means we’re going to start praying persistently (don’t give up on that prayer, those dreams. Keep asking, and then ask again), expectantly (believing, even with a tiny, mustard seed amount of faith, that He will do it because He’s a good Dad and He loves us more than we can imagine), specifically (God knows what we want and need, but He also wants us to be specific – it requires us to be vulnerable and trust Him to accomplish it, or change our hearts in the process), and humbly (we don’t pray because we expect God to do things for us because we deserve it – newsflash, we don’t – but we pray out of a humble heart because of His great grace and mercy on us).
Lastly, “Pray like it depends on God, but work like it depends on you.” Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle. This quote was so impactful for me that I wrote it down multiple times in my journal. I should probably tattoo it on my forehead. I think there are times in life that we simply (ironic) over-complicate things. Especially as women, we will over-analyze any situation, talk to our moms, our friends, our coworkers before we trust God to take the next step of obedience. I’ve come to the conclusion that after we’ve prayed, maybe sought out some wise counsel, then we just need to get to work. God’s not going to send us a text telling us the job to take (although I totally wish He would), and He’s also not going to do the work for us. So, even if you can’t see HOW it’s all going to work out yet, take that next step in getting there. Make that appointment with the fertility doctor. Fill out the application for that job or update your resume. Go on the blind date (even if it’s terrible). Ask her out, or obviously put yourself in his path (sometimes guys are dumb and can’t read the 4,378 signals we give that we’re interested). If you’ve prayed, and believe, even with a tiny bit of faith, that He’s a good Dad, He loves you, and answers all prayers, then your actions should start to reflect that. He may not answer the prayer in your timing, or even how you expected Him to, but believe me, when He does, it will be better than you could ever ask or think.