18 Early in the morning as Jesus was returning to the city, he was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree along the road, but when he came to it, he found nothing except leaves. Then he said to it, “You’ll never again bear fruit!” The fig tree dried up at once. 20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so fast?” they asked. 21 Jesus responded, “I assure you that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree. You will even say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the lake.’ And it will happen. 22 If you have faith, you will receive whatever you pray for.” (Matthew 21:18-22, CEB)
Ok I have a problem here. So if I pray and I don’t get it does that mean I don’t have faith?
Jesus said, “If you have faith, you will receive whatever you pray for.” So if I pray and I don’t get it does that mean I don’t have faith, or I don’t have enough faith?
Also Jesus said “I assure you that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree. You will even say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the lake.’ And it will happen.” So maybe it’s not that I don’t have faith but I’m just doubting.
And doubt is the opposite of faith, right?
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Even though our reading seems to say that. Doubt is questioning, and wondering. I will tell you as a pastor there are many times I doubt my call. I doubt God can use me, even as I tell others that God will use their live to show love to the world. I wonder and question God all the time. But I still have faith in God. I still believe that that promises we have been give are true and God’s love is always there for all of us.
So what do we do this this passage. Well, number 1 it is out of context. We can read any passage of scripture and without the context or other scripture to help us know what it says we can get some scary and bad stuff.
Jesus said other places that you will receive your prayer if it is God’s will. So it might not be you doubted and it isn’t because you don’t have enough faith. In another passage, Jesus said if you had the faith the size of a mustard seed, which is really small, you could tell this mountain to move and it would move, which most people take as to say that we have a very little faith. Which could be true, but the faith you have is enough to make you though. It isn’t about you having the ability to move mountains, because honestly if I could move mountains, I wouldn’t do anything else. It is about you having enough faith to fully rely on God.
So know you have enough faith, and don’t worry about doubting, God can take it.