My faith is growing weak . . . can you help?
You started out strong, you did... but by now, it is hard to stay strong in faith
with this virus situation going on and on.
What to do? First, remember that Faith is Vital to THRIVE,
and Scripture puts a premium on it, going so so far as to say,
'Without faith it is impossible to please God.'1
That's pretty clear, I believe.
Marvel - the definition: be filled with wonder or astonishment
We do not know his name, but it doesn’t matter, because this man caused Jesus to marvel. Let’s call him the Good Captain. The Good Captain was not a religious person, but we have something to learn from him. Fact is, the man was a despised Roman and a centurion (in charge of a hundred men). Centurions were the long-service, regular soldiers of the Roman army, responsible for the discipline and morale of the regiment--the finest men who commanded respect wherever they went.2
One day, the Good Captain went looking for help; he went looking for Jesus--the best place to start when looking for faith.
The scene is set in Matthew chapter eight: “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.”3
Why did Jesus marvel at this Roman, the Good Captain? There were several reasons. First, servants were property—in all actuality, they were slaves, little more than things. Gaius, the Roman legal expert, wrote: "We may note that it is universally accepted that the master possesses the power of life and death over the slave."4 Yet here we have the good Captain showing his compassion for his slave by taking time from his duties to come and seek out Jesus on his behalf.
Second, in coming to Jesus, the Captain showed his willingness to humble himself, even saying “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof…” He recognized his inferiority to the Son of God--Jesus, and freely expressed it. It is not always easy for men who have power to humble themselves yet this man demonstrated great humility.
Most importantly, the Good Captain expressed his faith in Jesus’ heart and ability to do the miraculous for his slave, “only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus immediately recognized the centurion’s great faith, marveled at it, and proclaimed it in appreciative amazement for all those nearby who observed their encounter. Faith that Jesus marveled at!
Friends, I pray that you want Jesus to marvel at your great faith. He can and wants to do the unlikely, the impossible, the not-to-be-believed things in our lives in response to our faith. ‘But,’ you say, ‘I want to believe, I want to have more faith…how? I started out strong, but now I am wearing out--my faith is weakening.’ Start there,
ask God to give you more faith. Jesus said,
“All things are possible to him who believes.”5
To which a sick boy’s father said, "I do believe; help my unbelief."6
Yes, we are to ask God to grow our faith in him, and he will.
Talk to God daily—tell him your needs, and thank him for his answers. Ask him for wisdom. Ask him to increase your faith. He is always looking to marvel at the faith of his children… really.
1 – Hebrews 11.6a
2 - William Barclay commentary, The Daily Study Bible.
3 – Matthew 8.5-13
4 - Barclay
5 – Mark 9.23
6 – Mark 9.24