“O you of little faith.”
If someone flung that phrase at you in the midst of your struggles, how would you feel? Probably a little irritated and slightly offended.
Last week, I started studying the book of Matthew. Not with any specific questions or intentions in mind, but with the simple aim to read through it and glean whatever treasures the Lord had hidden for me. Even the most familiar of stories can offer fresh insights when we sit before the Lord with an open mind, and invite Him to pen His desires upon on our hearts.
As I read through chapters 6-17, I noticed a phrase that kept coming up: “O you of little faith.” Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite phrases from the Bible – only, I hadn’t realized it was mentioned so often until I started reading through Matthew.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying,“Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:26-33 (see also Matthew 8:23-27)
This passage was the first time I fell in love with those words, “O you of little faith.” That sounds weird and backwards, I know. Let me explain. I wouldn’t be too thrilled if someone ever said those words to me. I would probably be annoyed and offended…and perhaps a little angry about another person judging me for how big or small my faith is. But when I imagine Jesus saying those words to me, it carries a whole new meaning. It changes the whole scenario. In the midst of many a trial, this passage has been my source of comfort. It’s been my go-to Scripture when I need a renewed and God-filled perspective on my struggle.
PERSPECTIVE: In those moments when you see the waves crashing and you feel the wind pulling you in all directions, cast your eyes upon the Lord. Simply look up. Look at the One who sits on high, who can literally gather the waters into His hands. He will keep you from sinking. He will calm the storm that is raging around you and within you. When you feel like all hope is gone, look up from your surroundings, look away from the chaos around you, and look to Him. His hand is outstretched, waiting for you to take a hold of Him. And as He says to you, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” – His eyes are filled with compassion for you. His heart is filled with sorrow that you would doubt Him – for what has He ever done to warrant those doubts? Absolutely nothing. But He has done everything to prove His faithfulness to you. Let His peace wash over you. And as He calms the storm around you, allow His presence to quiet your soul, to steady your heart, to comfort your mind. So in those moments when you feel the tide pulling you under, gather those doubts and lay them at His feet. Know with confidence that in that moment, the Lord will immediately reach out His hand and take a hold of you.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek firstthe kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Life is tough these days. Work is hard to find, food and clothes are expensive. Add all the bills and payments on top of everything and there’s just about enough money left to hit the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s. Yes, McDonald’s – because honestly, who can afford to eat healthy these days?
PERSPECTIVE: In the times when money is tight and the future seems uncertain, cast your eyes upon the Lord. There’s a lot more to life than worrying about how to meet your everyday needs. That sounds absurd, I know. But we know this is true because the Bible says so. Worrying will not add a single second to your life. So what’s the use of putting all that unnecessary stress on your heart? If anything, worrying simply causes more problems – hypertension, stroke, heart attacks, anxiety disorders, depression, etc. – all of which will cause further financial and psychological strain. The Father sent His Son to die a cruel death for you. Jesus willingly came to this earth, lived with the likes of us for 33 years, all so that YOU could be ransomed and redeemed. If that doesn’t show you how precious you are in the sight of the Lord, I don’t know what will. Know that you are far more valuable to Him than anything else in this universe. And because you are precious to Him, He will provide for you in every way. He is your Jehovah Jireh, your Provider, your Sustainer. In Him you have all things. So when you see those bills piling up, when your interviews fall through, when you don’t know how you’re going to make ends meet, look to the One who’s already got it all figured out. When He looks at you and says, “O you of little faith, do not be anxious,” make this decision: trust only.
And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
Life is so fast-paced nowadays. It’s go-go-go 24/7. We don’t have time to look to the past; we only have time to plan out the future. But what happens when the planned things don’t go as planned? What happens when unplanned things happen?
PERSPECTIVE: As new struggles arise, as your plans get thrown out of whack, as chaos ensues, cast your eyes upon the Lord. This is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is the God that freed Israel from the bonds of slavery, the God that lead the Israelites out of the wilderness. This is the God that enabled a small shepherd boy to defeat a giant. This is the God that made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. This is the God that healed a woman of a hemorrhage that plagued her for 12 years. This is the God that raised Lazarus from the grave after he had been dead for four days. This God, who made the impossible, possible for normal, ordinary people all across the span of history, is the same God who stands before you today. This God who knitted you together in your mother’s womb, who knew you before you were formed, this God who loved you with an everlasting love even before you were conceived, who protected you from every calamity that came your way, is the same God who will carry you and watch over you in the days ahead. Although you forget, although you don’t remember all the times He has saved you, protected you, and lifted you out of the holes you have dug for yourself, He always remembers you. There’s nothing on His mind aside from you. So when you forget His faithfulness to you, when you are unfaithful to Him, know that He will always be faithful to you. When He asks you, “O you of little faith, do you not remember?” – look back at your own story and remind yourself of His unending faithfulness towards you.
I love these words, “O you of little faith.” Not because they make me feel good about myself. No, certainly not. But because they remind me to cast my eyes upon the Lord. Because they fill me with a renewed hope and confidence in my God’s ability and desire to carry me through this life. I love these words because they give me a new perspective on my situation, because they give me the strength to persevere in Him.
Life offers us new challenges with each new day. But Jesus offers us victory over every struggle, every temptation, every uncertainty that this world throws our way. We simply have to trust that He really is working all things together for our best interests (Romans 8:28) – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.