This week, I was in a discussion about faith with someone. Her church is studying a book that proposes that every lack in our lives is due to the fact that we don’t have enough faith. This includes the lack of money, being depressed, having poor health, etc.
I took issue with this idea. Two examples from Scripture just leapt to mind. Job was tested simply because he was the most righteous man on earth, and Satan challenged God that he could be broken. Job lost everything except his wife and his life. But was it because of his lack of faith? I don’t believe so. My friend, who really does believe that anything can be accomplished with enough faith, quoted Job 3:25, where Job says, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” This verse supposedly indicates that Job’s faith wasn’t perfect, that he had fears. But, I think this begs the question of the chain of events as reported. It was more due to Job’s great faith that the “bad” things happened to him, rather than a lack of faith. In fact, he refused to give up on God. His wife advised him to “curse God and die,” yet Job was steadfast and said he would trust God even if God killed him.
Another good example is the man who was born blind. John 9 tells that Jesus healed him, and then the disciples asked, “Who sinned, this man, or his parents?” They believed that the lack of health had to be the result of sin. Jesus didn’t answer in riddles, for a change. He clearly said that no one sinned, but that the man was born blind simply so that the works of God could be displayed.
We don’t know how old this man was, but if it’s a fact that sufficient faith fixes everything, then for all the years before the man met Jesus he could have been accurately criticized for not having enough faith. The reality is that he had plenty of faith, because he was healed. However, the timing also had to be right.
The book the group is studying does pose the question, “Does the sovereignty of God take precedence over faith?” In other words, if God has some overriding plan, can he be forced to change that plan by someone who prays with enough faith?
One school of thought says, “Yes, God has to respond to a prayer of sufficient faith.”
I say that there are lots of examples throughout history of people who were asked to suffer physically, emotionally, or spiritually for various reasons having nothing to do with the amount of faith they had.
What do you think?