I Need A Bigger Needle

As I lay in bed this morning and began my daily conversation with God, I started, as I often do, by confessing my sins. 

“Father,” I prayed, “I am so weak and broken.  I am like Paul.  I do the things I don’t want to do, and I don’t do the things I do want to do.  I am just not strong enough to go a whole day without sinning against you and my fellow man.”

Well, I stopped there and realized what I had just confessed – “I am not strong.  I can’t do this, even for one day.”

Of course, I can’t.  I can’t do anything on my own.  I know that.  Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  And, of course, he wasn’t saying God can do all things himself (Sure he can.)  But that wasn’t his point.  He was saying that with Him, in Him, through Him anything is possible, even for a man.  A camel could pass through the eye of a needle – even a lowly, mortal man could achieve eternity in the kingdom of God.

At this point in my prayers, my mind had started to draw pictures for me.  I was seeing a picture of my hand holding a small sewing needle.  I prayed to God, “Lord I believe I can do all things with you.  Why, not only could a camel pass through the eye of a needle, but I could lead him through myself.” 

I don’t remember feeling any doubt.  I don’t remember changing my mind, but – in the blink of an eye – I was holding a bigger needle.  It was still too small for me, or a camel, to pass through, but it was as big as a railroad spike.  And, I immediately thought – this needle is still too small for me and the camel.

I think I had actually drifted back into a half-sleep, but this struck me as somehow wrong.  Suddenly, I was completely awake, and my heart was deeply troubled. 

“Oh, ye of little faith,” I could almost hear Jesus say to me.  I felt like Peter, walking on the water – just a short walk, sustained by a momentary burst of faith, but extinguished all too soon by the stronger earthly reality of his true nature.  I felt like Peter, James and John, who so love Jesus they left everything to follow him, yet a it took only a matter of minutes, on one of the most important nights in our Lord’s life, for them to fail him and they could not stay awake and pray.

My prayers had pointed me to my faith in Jesus, the sustainer of life, and in a matter of minutes I had not only fallen asleep, but I had been drawn away from the majesty and sustaining power of faith in God to the earthly reality of my true nature.  I sank below the waves.  I took my eyes off of Jesus and suddenly I was not relying on him to direct me through the tiny opening in the needle, but I was trusting in my own ability to set things right with a bigger needle.  And even then, my ability didn’t provide a big enough needle to satisfy.

Now, wide awake, I sat up on the edge of the bed, and I began to pray again. 

“Father forgive me.  Just when I though I had the faith to move mountains, you humbled me and reminded me that my faith is smaller than even a mustard seed.  Lord, I believe.  Forgive me of my unbelief.  Strengthen me, counsel me, and guide me by your Holy Spirit to be strong and unwavering in my trust and dependence, not on myself, but on you.  Holy Father, I don’t need a bigger needle.  I need a bigger faith.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.”


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