There are two faith types that describe your level of discipleship. A disciple is a disciplined learner. Christians are disciples of Christ and that makes the Christian a disciplined learner of Christ. Not only do we learn faith from the written Word of God, we also learn faith from everyday life experiences.
Many years ago I took my son, Jamil, fishing. He was seven-years-old. Tha day I had a fisherman’s gut feeling that Red-belly Brim, which is a species of perch in southern Louisiana, were biting. So I rented a small boat with a motor at a boat launch in Eastern New Orleans and we headed out on our first fishing trip together.
Turns out that my hunch was right. The fish were hitting our lines as fast as we could put a hook in the water. They were biting too fast for rod and reel action so we put our fishing rods down and started using our short cane poles instead. All we had to do was lift up our cane poles and swing them into the boat.
Before exhausting our supply of bait, we half-filled a 40-quart ice chest with fish. I turned to my son and said, “We don’t have any more bait, so I guess we had better go.” But he wasn’t having it. “No daddy, we can’t go yet, the fish are still biting!”
“But Jamil, the fish are not going to bite an empty hook”, I replied!
I knew the fish were not going to bite, nevertheless, I agreed to stay a bit longer for my son. I could see that he was having the time of his life. So I sat down in the boat and watched him fish. To my surprise, as soon as he dropped his hook into the water he caught a fish. “You see daddy, I told you they were still biting,” he yelled! I decided to help his ego a bit, so I said, “Son, I told you they were going to bite, I was just tired of fishing.” So I passed him the other fishing pole while I unbaited the fish he had just caught. I know by now that you are wondering, “What does any of this have to do with faith types?” Hold on, I’m getting there.
The Storm Cometh
We were catching so many fish, I didn’t notice that the weather was changing. The boat started to gently rock from side to side. I said to Jamil, “We’d better go now.” As I was speaking, the wind picked up and the waves began to swell. It didn’t take Jamil long for my son to agree with me. He looked up at me and said, “Daddy, I think we better go now!” I pulled up the anchor, started the boat, and headed toward the main channel. As we rode, the sky got really dark and the waves began to swell even more. At that moment I started thinking about faith types. I thought to myself, “If I ever needed extraordinary faith, it’s right now.”
When we entered the main channel I turned the boat in the direction of the dock and the engine suddenly stopped. I checked the gas tank. There was about a quarter of a tank of gas in the tank. I kept trying to start the engine, but it wouldn’t start. Meanwhile, the wind was pushing us further from the dock. I tried to start the engine several times but to no avail. “What would Jesus do,” I thought? I had read about how when Jesus spoke to the wind the waves and the sea became calm. So I started speaking to the wind and the waves, but for some reason, they weren’t listening to me. The wind started blowing harder and the waves got even bigger.
Two Faith Types
You might wonder, “Where is he going with this old fishing story, and what does any of this have to do with faith types?” I had just witnessed two types of faith in action: little faith, and great faith. Because I doubted the fish would bite a hook without bait, my doubt produced within me little faith. You see, from the beginning of our trip, I believed the fish were biting, I just didn’t believe they would bite a hook with no bait on it. On the other hand, my son believed the fish would bite regardless of the circumstances. His great faith produced results.
Little faith believes until doubt comes. Do you have little faith? Can you remember just one time when you asked God for something and the thing that you asked for never came? Or perhaps there was a time when you prayed with all your might that God would change your situation, and nothing changed. Friend, you were just experiencing the effects of your own doubt. Even though you knew God could grant you the thing you asked for, and that He was able to change your situation, you doubted that He would do it for you.
While little faith gives in to doubt, great faith continues to believe that God WILL deliver in any situation, and under any condition. Not that God CAN deliver, but that He WILL deliver. If I wanted to see great faith results I had to think like a child. I had to think like my son. I could tell that he didn’t doubt God because he remained calm. We tough grown-up Christians think we’re tough. But when we get in the middle of a storm, we realize that we’re not so tough. Suddenly we realize that we’re just scared. Children are not filled with all the hurt, the anger, and the disappointment that we scared adults are. They don’t believe God based on any condition. They just believe God because they trust Him.
I began to pray within my heart. But this time I didn’t ask God to get me to the dock safely. Instead, I thanked Him for getting me there. There is a difference. You can either ask God for something, or you can thank Him for having already granted your request.
I looked on the floor of the boat for the paddles, but there was only one. I didn’t waste time thinking about it, I just picked up the paddle and began to stroke. Two times on the left side, and two times on the right. But I wasn’t getting anywhere. The wind was taking me further and further from where I was trying to go.
Of the two faith types, which one do you claim?
My son has gone on to be with the Lord. But that day, he taught me a valuable lesson. I learned that the only way to get great faith results is by believing God simply because you trust Him. When you are faced with a difficult situation do you just give in to the circumstance, or do you reach way down on the inside and trust God?
When I was rowing that boat with my son in it, there was no way I could just give up. I knew the only way that I was going to make it to the dock was to trust God with all my heart. But how do you trust God when it looks like you’re not going to make it? You must become like a child; you must do what children do all the time. When they ask God to do something, they don’t think of all the reasons why they should doubt God. In their innocent hearts, children simply trust God because they believe God has already given them their request.
Faith Just Believes
When we were in the middle of that storm, I thought my heart would fail from exhaustion. But I just kept on rowing and praising God and thanking Him for getting us to the dock safely. I was so busy praying and rowing, I didn’t even realize that we were in the little tiny bay, about fifty yards from the dock.
When your storm comes, remember that there are only two faith types: little faith and great faith. Don’t let the conditions of your storm cause you to doubt. Trust God because you love Him, and God will give you the grace wherewith you can have great faith to trust Him.