Woman, you have great faith! (Matthew15:28a NIV)
Friend to Friend
He called it a dune buggy. I called it a death trap.
My friend, Harry, invited me and some of my friends for a ride over beach sand dunes in his big wheel jeep. I like sand. I like rides. Sounded like fun. It was not.
We buckled in and Harry revved up the engine. We did not ride over the sand dunes; we flew. Bouncing. Jostling. Screaming. Crying for him to slow down. All the while, Harry laughed and had a good ole time, mainly because he was the one controlling the steering wheel.
One thing I learned that day, besides don’t get in a jeep with Harry, was that you need big tires to go off-road over big hills and deep valleys.
Likewise, you need big faith tires to leave the well-paved highway of religion, where the masses travel along listening to Pandora and tootling along.
Jesus often taught about little faith and big faith. When the disciples panicked because the winds and the waves on the Sea of Galilee were too much for them to handle, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26 NIV). He said those same words several other times as well (Matthew 6:30, 14:31).
When Jesus talked about “little faith,” He wasn’t talking about the amount of faith a person is given but the size of the faith a person has. Paul wrote that we are all given “a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3 NKJV). They had a measure of faith given to them, but they hadn’t exercised it. It was still small.
For example, we are all born with a certain number of muscles. We don’t get more muscles; they just get bigger. A person who exercises his or her muscles has bigger, stronger ones than those who don’t. Likewise, we have been given a certain amount of faith. We don’t need more faith to experience God’s power in a big way, we need to exercise and strengthen the faith we already have.
Right before the disciple’s Galilean Sea experience, they had heard Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount, watched Him cleanse a leper’s skin, heal a centurion’s son, and take away Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever. THEN, they got in the boat to go to the other side and had a panic attack.
You and I might be thinking…If I saw Jesus do all that, I’d have big-tire off-road faith. But that wasn’t true for the Israelites in the Old Testament or the disciples in the New. And I wonder if it would be true for me and you.
Maybe we’ve got it backwards. Rather than If I saw more miracles, I would have more faith we should flip it around to If I had more faith, I’d see more miracles.
And how do I have, not more faith, but bigger faith? Off-road big-tire faith that takes me on exciting adventures?
By exercising the faith that I do have.
By believing that God is Who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
By trusting that God is always working.
By believing that God is for us.
By taking risks to obey when we’re scared.
By standing on the truth of Scripture.
By praising God when we might not feel like it.
By practicing, lifting, stretching.
If Harry invited me to go off-road in his jeep again, would I do it? Absolutely not! However, when Jesus invites me to go off-road with big tire faith, off the well-paved path where believers for centuries have traveled mundane, mediocre, safe-faith roads, I’m all in.
The Gentile woman in Matthew 15:21-28 is my role model for today. When Jesus passed through her town, she begged Him to heal her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus appears to rebuff her but was really testing her. She persisted with her off-road big-tire faith banter and wouldn’t let Him go. Finally, Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment (Matthew 15:28 NIV).
I love how one paraphrase of this verse says it, ““Oh, woman, your faith is something else.”
That’s what I want to hear. That’s what I want to live. I think you do too.
LORD, help me to exercise my faith to make it grow bigger and stronger. Show me the ways I’ve played it safe on the well-paved path of milquetoast faith rather than living the adventurous faith I was made to live.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one way you can exercise your faith today?
More from the Girlfriends
Are you ready for the mountain-moving, giant-slaying faith that God intended all along? Then check out Sharon’s book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For and discover the untapped sources of confidence and courage that God has already placed in you.
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