As someone who struggles with anxiety and worry, one of the most annoying pieces of advice is something along the lines of “you just need to have more faith.” Alternatively, I am chastised for my lack of faith with statements such as “you just don’t have enough faith” or the ever-so-cheeky “stop being such a doubting Thomas.”
People spew this advice all the time, but they don’t really provide any clues as to how to actually “get” said faith. Priests and pastors can be notorious about this, especially when trying to provide a breadth of counsel to dozens if not hundreds of parishioners. Of coures, the logical response to the statement “you need to have more faith” is “OK, how do I get it?”
Or…I may get the proverbial “Pray about it more…” Wow, even the crickets were more consoling! Am I not praying enough??
So, in addition to what was already stressing me out, now I have to worry about not having enough faith or not praying enough. The problems I am up against make faith seem so elusive. When told to “get more faith”, I get this image of having an empty “faith basket” and I need to fill that basket up. Like hunting for Easter eggs, it figuratively requires looking under rocks, in the bushes, in a cow patty, wherever…just to find as many eggs as possible.
If you ever participated in such rituals as a child, you know the coveted prize of the Easter egg hunt is the Golden Egg (e.g. a plastic yellow egg that probably cost less than $0.50 at the drug store). Along with other kids, you searched feverishly for the coveted Golden Egg. If you were the lucky soul who found the Golden Egg, it was a moment of epic win. A moment when you felt ultimate confidence to step up and claim your prize, and you gloated as other kids ended their search in shame. However…
Roman’s 12:3 states “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
In other words, we do not need to go hunting for more faith. Should we choose to accept Christ in our hearts or not, faith has already been given to us as a gift from God — freely accessible to all, and not hidden.
We often spin our wheels searching for faith like a coveted Golden Egg, but the Golden Egg has been in your pocket the entire time.
Before Jesus went to the cross, he told His disciples in John 14:16-17:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
This advocate is the Holy Spirit, who dwells within those who accept Christ’s sacrifice for absolution from sin. It’s not a privilege only for a few, but for all. The Holy Spirit that abides in believers allows access to God’s wisdom and discernment for how to handle tough situations, confirming and assuring the faith we are already given.
Former Pope John Paul II states in a 1991 audience:
“…St. Thomas explains that from its very beginning faith is a gift of God (cf. Eph 2:8-9). This is because “man, in assenting to the truth of faith, is raised above the level of his nature…and that can only occur through a supernatural principle which acts from within, i.e., God. Therefore, faith comes from God who works interiorly by means of his grace”  . After the beginning of faith, all of its succeeding development occurs under the action of the Holy Spirit. The ongoing deepening of faith which brings one to a greater knowledge of the truths believed is especially the work of the Holy Spirit, who gives the soul an ever new keenness in penetrating the mystery…”
Luke 17:6 says that this gift of faith is so powerful that even faith the size of a mustard seed can uproot a tree and throw it into the water…so if your “measure of faith” seems puny, just know that it does not take much. Who needs a backhoe, right?
If you are seeking God’s counsel for trying to solve a problem….you have enough faith.
If you are taking steps to allowing Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life…you have enough faith.
If you are struggling with something and you utter even the smallest prayer…you have enough faith.
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