April 15, 2010
Faith of a Mustard Seed
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
Exactly how much faith does a mustard seed have, anyway? My explanation may seem simple, or even trite, but it makes perfect sense to me. Funny, but an old episode of the original Star Trek series, "Spectre of the Gun" can also help explain it. I know...Star Trek has something to do with faith? Read on.
In this episode, members of the crew were forced by aliens to play out the gunfight at the OK Corral. Since the had been given the part of the Clantons, they knew there was no hope for them. However, while trying to prepare for the fight and escape death, Spock relaized that everything happening to them was merely illusion. If they could only convince their minds that this was true, they could not be hurt by the bullets. The problem was, the human mind is not easily convinced about many things.
True faith isn't merely telling yourself something over and over again and "pretending" it's true. If deep down inside there's even a hint of doubt or uncertainty, it's no good. An example I like to use is driving. How many people get into their car each day and even remotely think about being in an accident. Not that you drive recklessly or buy unsafe cars, but in the simple act of driving to work or to run errands, the thought that you may not make it there and back safely rarely crosses anyone's mind. (And even if it did, it's not a given that an accident would happen). You're not trying to convince yourself that you'll be okay all the way there, you just assume that's a given. That's faith.
Also, the laws of physics states that it's theoretically possible to drop a pencil (for example) and have all the atoms suddenly move contrary to gravity and the pencil would "fall" to the ceiling instead of the floor. No one thinks about that happening because we all "know" that a dropped pencil will hit the floor. Also an act of faith. Not even a conscious one, but it still applies.
Back in the Star Trek episode, Spock was able to use his disciplined Vulcan mind and mind meld with the others so that they would trully believe that the bullets were mere illusion and they would survive the shootout. I'm not convinced that any human mind is capable in our current condition of that sort of unwavering faith in daily life. I beieve there are instances where it happens, but for the most part, our inherent "humanness" prevents this from being the norm. This doesn't mean we should just give up. We simply need a way to "mind meld" with a stronger mind. Hmmm...maybe that's part of what God is for.