Faith is mentioned more than 200 times in the Bible. Faith moves mountains. Faith transforms us into the image of Christ.
When we are going through trials and tribulations, our human nature wants to control the situation, fix it and make it go away. What does God want for us? His desire is for us to trust Him. “Jesus, I Trust in You!”
My spiritual director encouraged me to say “Jesus, I Trust in You” on every bead of the rosary when I am in a state of despair. It is important to use contemplative prayer and meditation when we fear, rather than let the fear disable us. Look for your own “prayer closet” with the Lord—a special place in your home, garden, etc. that you choose for prayer—and spend time in contemplation or meditation. Through prayer, we are transformed and receive the peace and love God wants for us.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
How in the world can we receive this peace when we feel as if everything is crashing down on us? I believe achieving peace of heart and mind is impossible from a human standpoint. However, with God, all things are possible.
What do we know about faith? It is essential to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
In other words, no matter how many spiritual works or works of mercy we perform, rosaries we pray, prayers we utter, Masses we attend or anything else, if we do not believe in Jesus, trust Him and call to Him, we do not please Him.
How do we develop this kind of faith, the faith of the centurion? We must ask for it!
We read in Scripture that faith comes from listening.
Romans 10:17 “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”
To receive what God is telling us, we must desire, listen and expect Him to speak to us. People tell me so often they never hear God speak to them. I believe they have not asked for faith and do not expect God to give them faith. God does not say “Yes” and then, “No.” Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would teach us what we need to know to increase our faith and to understand what God wants for our lives.
John 14:26 “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.”
To have expectant faith means we are waiting for God to reveal His grace and blessings to us, no matter what the circumstance. Paul defines faith as this hopeful waiting in his letter to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
A powerful verse follows this passage.
Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”
Reflecting on this Scripture, we realize our faith, through God, makes the realities in our lives happen.
A good story about expectant faith occurred during one of our ministry pilgrimages to the Holy Land. A woman on the trip suffered from a severely dislocated shoulder, which had happened several days before our departure. She could barely lift up her right arm. She obviously was in tremendous pain. At one of the holy sites, I could see her struggling. I prayed fervently, asking God to perform a miracle.
When it comes to expectant faith, I often think of the two blind men in Matthew’s Gospel.
Matthew 9:27-29 “And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, ‘Son of David, have pity on us!’ When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord’ they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Let it be done for you according to your faith.’”
Recalling this Scripture, I asked the woman, “Do you believe that God can heal you?”
I will never forget as long as I live the expression on her face. I could tell she was processing whether or not she believed. I saw her entire face change as she enthusiastically answered me, “I believe!”
At that moment, my faith expanded tremendously and “I knew that I knew that I knew.” God was going to do something incredible. I called upon God’s merciful grace and healing power to mend her shoulder instantly. I had no doubt. I totally believed! The woman totally believed!
Within 30 seconds, the woman was screaming, laughing and saying repeatedly, “I believe!” With her once-dislocated shoulder, she thrust her arm into the air, shouting again and again, “I believe, I believe!”
As I travel throughout this country and the world, I experience and feel the suffering of so many. People pray and ask for help, but nothing seems to change. I believe one significant reason for a seeming lack of response from God is many people simply don’t expect anything to change. Their focus is on their problem; their eyes are not set on Jesus. Like Peter walking on the water, they look at their trials—the waves—and fail to focus on Christ. When we walk, we must walk in faith and not by what we see.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
In my talks, I often hold up the Bible and ask audience members what would happen if I dropped the holy book. Would it rise up in the air, hover? Of course not! One-hundred percent of the people—and you— know the answer. It would come crashing to the floor due to the physical law of gravity.
We clearly understand physical laws but fail to realize spiritual laws of God. When we ask for faith, we will get it! When we desire more faith and ask for it, we are assured our Father will give us the faith to move mountains.
Matthew 17:20 “Amen, I say to 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. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Most of us struggle to understand spiritual laws. We don’t understand that having and using spiritual gifts is normal Christianity. The “abundant life” that Jesus promised us. It is why we can rest in Him. Take His yoke upon us—for it is easy—and know that we are loved. We are not alone.
Deacon Steve Greco is the author of numerous books on Catholic spirituality. Read more about his thoughts on Expectant Faith and other related topics in his book Overcoming Adversity through Faith. Click here to get a copy: https://www.spiritfilledhearts.org/store