by Gina Caswell Kelly
There are so many times in the Bible when people make requests of God. Protect us. Guide us. Lead us. Show us. Tell us. All very good requests to make of our Heavenly Father. These and so many more. I was reading around through my Bible recently. And by that I mean I just kind of jump around and see what I have underlined, highlighted or have notes written beside, and I refresh my memory of how God worked, works, or will work. I love to see the dates and notes I have written. It is my own little bulletin board about the greatness of God in my life. But, I came across Luke 17:5. The verse reads, “The apostles said to the Lord, “Lord increase our faith!” A very short verse with a very simple message.
I was thinking, as I was reading and rereading that verse that Luke 17:5 includes what is possibly a very brave prayer to the Father. Think about it. I know that in my own life, when I have seen my faith grow the most, it has been in times of extreme discomfort. As in the loss of a baby, the loss of a husband, the pain and trials in the lives of my kids, the financial problems of farming and trying to make a living. I could go on and on. In all these things, I have seen God work and hold me and my family high up out of the rushing waters and keep us safe. We had to rely on Him. We had nothing else on which to hold. As a result of these times of trial, our faith has grown. My willingness to rely on Him to manage the day to day issues of my life has increased. I have built my faith muscles up! All through pain, suffering and sorrow.
Do you really want to pray for God to increase your faith? As I was reading that day, I thought, “Man, my faith is good enough. I don’t need to grow it anymore.” Well, that was my first thought. My second thought was, “God, whatever it takes to mold me into who You want me to be. Into who You made me to be.” Those are words I didn’t want to say, but I know that if I want to continue to grow as a child of God, I have to be ready to go where He leads me. I have to be willing to take that step into the unknown, running willingly into whatever awaits.
I will be real honest with you. I have been through plenty. In my mind, I can take whatever comes MY way. The times that are the toughest for me though, are those which my children experience. My heart has broken far more deeply for the pain and trials of my kids than in my own life. I think most parents feel that way. So again, do I really want to ask God to increase my faith? What if it happens through the suffering of my children? The answer to that is, our children have to write their own faith story. God has no grandchildren. I can’t strengthen my own faith enough to cover them. They have to develop their own faith muscles through their own struggles. No, I would not willingly wish bad into their lives. Neither would our Heavenly Father, who is so much greater than are we. But, when that suffering comes into the lives of our children, our job, as parents is to hold them up in prayer. Encourage them to stay in God’s Word. Show them with our own life how God has worked through our suffering. Show them through their struggles that God is working to build their faith. Show them with your life and lead them with your words. “Lord, increase my faith!” It will make a difference.