With the kind permission of my publisher, FaithWords, here is an excerpt from the introduction to Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People. If it whets your appetite for the rest of the book, be sure to see the pre-order bonus information at the end of this post.
From the introduction….
Maybe you’ve resolved, again, to study your Bible more, serve at your church, or be a better wife, mom, husband, father, employee, or Christian. But the daily montage of your life accuses you of weak faith. Your life bears no evidence of ark- building, sea- crossing acts of faith. After a long day, week, or season you find yourself collapsed in your chair, shaking your head. Maybe you’ve just tucked your sweethearts into bed. With enthusiasm you’ve read to them of a giant- slaying boy with great faith in God. Perhaps you flipped through the rest of the children’s Bible, looking for a character with whom you can identify.
Or, maybe you’ve just stepped off the treadmill after your morning exercise, and driving to the same places, dealing with the same people, and doing it all again makes you feel like you’re still on it. One foot in front of the other, the belt whirrs round the axles, day after day. Something about your daily life doesn’t seem congruent with faith that pleases God.
But you are wrong.
When we look for examples of great faith in the gospels, we think of the disciples. They sat with rapt attention on the side of a mountain listening to Jesus teach with authority about a higher standard of righteousness. When he told them not to worry about where clothes and food would come from, he referred to these disciples who had left jobs, businesses, and family to follow him as “you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30).
We might think of Peter, who took a leap of faith to walk on water to Jesus. But when Peter lost sight of who Jesus was and focused on the raging storm around him, he began to doubt and drown. Then Jesus said, to the only disciple with the courage to leap, “You of little faith . . . , why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
We might think of the disciples going through the towns of Galilee following in Jesus’ footsteps and attempting to do as he had done. At the foot of a mountain, nine of them were attempting to free a little boy from a torturous demon. They could not. When Jesus arrived, what did he have to say to his disciples? “Thank you for attempting to do my work in my absence”? No. Instead, he scolded their misplaced faith: “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?” Jesus drove out the demon and freed the boy. Embarrassed and confounded, the disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He said to them, “Because you have so little faith” (see Matthew 17: 14– 20).
If Jesus found so little faith with his disciples, whom he chose, did he find faith at all?
Yes, he did.
Sprinkled throughout the gospels are the stories of eight nameless examples of faith. We identify them not by their names, but by their afflictions. Their lives were marked by desperation, pain, fatigue, hopelessness, disability, poverty, loneliness, and sin.
Each of them sought Jesus in unabashed desperation. With nothing to offer and nothing to lose, they went to great lengths to get to him. Some crawled through the dust. Some interrupted important gatherings. Others were relegated to roadsides and caves so they screamed for his help as he passed by.
What did Jesus notice about them? Their affliction? Their social impropriety? Perhaps. But the thing he remarked about, even marveled at, was their faith. Yes, Jesus found faith. Remarkable faith. But in the most unremarkable people.
These are their stories.
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