“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b, NIV2)
When I was about ten years old, I was always told that repair men needed to be left alone when they were working in our home, and I always wondered why…
One day one of our mechanical alarm clocks decided to go on strike (Yes, I am from the time of dinosaurs. I guess these mechanical alarm clocks don’t exist any longer…), but no problem. I knew the solution. I had to work on it with no one around. That was the trick! And so I proceeded to diligently take every wheel and every other essential out of this poor alarm clock. I then began to reassemble it, but for some reason I was left with spare parts. Oh well, these were certainly not essential!
Surprisingly, this alarm clock again began to function. But why not? I had followed in the steps of the experts and worked on it where there was no one around! There was this one tiny little problem, however: The clock was moving at 10 times the speed it was supposed to move at. But was that a real problem? That way I could become a grown-up much faster! Pretty cool!
Sadly, this is how we treat revelations from our Heavenly Father. Through our hands, God makes it possible to do a miracle. We are fascinated, but soon we forget our experience with our Father, and we continue our lives as if it never happened. We haven’t learned anything. Our inner clock has become defunct. Time to take it apart!
Then one day we face unimaginable odds, and we are left wanting. We start complaining to God, forgetting completely what He has taught us. We did not integrate the knowledge our Father gave us when we experienced our miracle.
The same thing happened to Jesus’ disciples. They had experienced the multiplication of food to a large crowd. With five loaves and two fish (See Mark 6: 30-44) they fed 5000 people. Quite a feat, don’t you think! Interestingly, this multiplication had taken place in the disciples’ hands, not Jesus’. It had been a real miracle, extra-ordinaire.
Right after this event, the disciples took a boat towards Bethsaida, but Jesus stayed behind. Fierce winds rose off the lake, making their trek quite miserable. Jesus “saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” (Mark 6:48-50, NIV2)
Jesus came to their rescue. “He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.” (Mark 6:51, NIV2)
We have to ask ourselves why they were amazed. Moments before they had witnessed a miracle way bigger than this, yet they had already forgotten. They had not internalized what they had learned during the multiplication of the loaves and the fish: “They had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:52, NIV2). As a matter of fact, the disciples must not have even realized their role in this miracle, for when hardship showed up minutes later, they were frustrated and had no idea how to face this calamity; and to make it worse, Jesus was not even in the boat. They were clueless.
We must remember that Jesus never told them: “Don’t worry. I will do this for you.” Instead he had said: “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37b, NIV2)
The same is true when they faced the storm. It was an opportunity for them to develop their faith, not an occasion for Jesus to show up as their hero. Unfortunately, they hadn’t learned anything: “Their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:52b, NIV2), and because of that, they became helpless, without a clue of how to face calamities. Don’t take me wrong, no miracles are forthcoming without the assistance of our Father, but the state of our heart can jeopardize everything!
It’s a good thing Jesus rescues us day in and day out, but it is unfortunate that our hardened hearts prevent us from experiencing our Father fully. Our faith remains ineffective. If only we would learn from our Father, nothing would stop us. After all, “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. (Matthew 17:20b-21,NIV)
If we are not experiencing that reality, then something is wrong. Maybe it’s time we go to the Expert Cardiologist and have the hardness of our heart removed.
Now the question remains: Do we truly believe?
We will delve more deeply into this subject next time.
(To access the entire “Do we Truly Believe?” devotional series, please click here.)