Updated: Jan 1
Following Jesus must’ve been really weird.
I was just reading in Mark 11 when Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead of him to bring back a donkey.
I mean, how weird would that have been to be told, “Go into that village over there. As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks what you’re doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”
I imagine the two disciples wandered in, saw the donkey, looked at each other, and shrugged. “Here goes nothing,” they probably thought.
Then they untied it and while they were doing so, some people questioned them.
“The Lord needs it. He will return it soon,” they answered. They were also probably hoping for no follow-up questions.
They didn’t know why Jesus needed a donkey or where he was taking it.
But they were granted the donkey and brought it back to Jesus. And to their surprise, Jesus hopped on and began his tour into town. He entered the village with praise and worship. He was “in the center of the procession.” It was like a giant parade for Jesus.
Who would expect that? None of that makes sense. It’s so random.
And so is feeding 5,000 men and their families with five loaves of bread, and casting demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs, and being clothed with dazzling garments whiter than any earthly bleach could make them.
Life with Jesus would never be boring, that’s for sure. And what amazes me the most, and I know the Gospels aren’t all written in moment-by-moment detail, but everything happens so quickly. The man on the street goes from blind to seeing instantly. The daughter goes from dead to sleeping instantly. The woman goes from bleeding, hopeless, and ostracized to healed and comforted — instantly.
And in all of those instantly instances, Jesus says “because of your faith” or “have faith” or proves people wrong when they “have such little faith.” It all boils down to having faith.
“Have faith in God,” he said to his disciples. “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)
I used to think our culture had things all wrong for growing accustomed to getting things instantly. Fast food, fast travel, fast internet…everything is fast. I thought we were too used to all this fast stuff and unable to be patient with God.
Now I know there are other times in the Bible when Jesus took his sweet time and frustrated everyone around. Mary and Martha were mad when he left Lazarus to die. His followers were disappointed when Jesus laid in the grave for three days. Sometimes Jesus took time. Sometimes he needed to do and teach some other things along the way.
But not always. Sometimes in people’s tremendous desperation and great faith Jesus honored their requests and met their needs, instantly.
We’ve grown accustomed to fast culture, and maybe sometimes that’s not so good because we rush things out of God’s timing. But Jesus wasn’t always slow. Maybe we need to have more faith and believe wholeheartedly it will be done. We need to have the kind of faith that believes a simple touch of his robe will heal. That the demon really can be evicted. That a prayer can move a mountain.
If you’re feeling hopeless, I encourage you to find some faith. And if you can’t seem to do that, pray “Father, help me overcome my unbelief.” That's what the father asked a moment before Jesus healed his son. You just have to want it.
Things can change in an instant. Don’t give up.