Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-20)
It’s a well-known scene from The Empire Strikes Back: Luke’s X-Wing fighter is sinking into the Dagobah swamp and Yoda wants him to get it out. Luke closes his eyes, stretches out a hand, and concentrates on the Force, but only manages a bit of a wiggle before it disappears completely under the water. Dejected, Luke watches as Yoda steps up and uses the power of the Force to lift the entire spacecraft out of the water and set it on firmer ground.
“I don’t believe it!” Luke exclaims.
“That is why you fail,” replies the Jedi Master.
This reminds me of the conversation between Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 17. A man brings his son, who suffers from life-threatening seizures, to Jesus for healing because the disciples, whom he had consulted first, had been unable to help. After Jesus gets the job done, the disciples look at him slack-jawed. “How’d you do that?” they ask him later, after everyone else leaves. Like Luke, they want to know, “Why couldn’t we do that?”
Faith is a powerful thing, and it doesn’t take much faith to make a powerful impact, according to Jesus. I think that’s because, like a tiny seed, the slightest bit of faith can grow into something that takes over and pushes out the doubts. But, also like a small seed, it takes nurturing and watering and practice for the little bit of faith to become great faith. So I keep plugging along, believing that one day something great will come about, despite my doubts and fears, and I thank God that it doesn’t take much faith at all to start the process.