Which is easier to say, "O you of little faith" or "O you of great fear"?
I think we have failed to fully realize the emphasis Jesus was making when He pointed out the measure of people's faith. It seems like such a put-down to say someone has little faith, but in reality, Jesus was not only identifying what they were lacking--He was also identifying what they were full of.
My husband and I have had many conversations about the cup being half-full or half-empty. I'm sure you've heard the analogy about a pessimist and optimist. They each see the same thing differently. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty. And most likely, our world is balanced in reality by the existence of both.
Jesus, however, had the unique ability to see Truth--even in a person's heart. When it appeared they were lacking in faith, He identified it as full of something else... Fear. Apparently, we cannot have both.
In Matthew 6:30, concerning our daily needs, Jesus said, "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown in to the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith [and great fear]?"
In Matthew, Chapter 8, He was awakened by His disciples and said, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith [and great fear]?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm (verse 26).
In Matthew 14:31, we once again find these words spoken directly toward Peter when he began to sink after walking on the water. "Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith [and great fear], why did you doubt?'"
In one more example, Jesus warned His disciples about the doctrine of the Pharisees and they assumed He was angry at them for forgetting to pick up bread! In Matthew 16:8, He said, "O you of little faith [and great fear], why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?" Sadly, people can even have an unhealthy fear of God because they lack understanding of His Word or His love.
But the truth is, people in general are prone to worry about finances, storms, danger, and uncertain situations. Yet Jesus insinuated if we would fill our hearts with faith, it would replace the fear. In each of the above situations, if the tables were turned, perhaps we would have seen Him marvel and say, "O you of great faith [and little fear]!"
Remember these truths:
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
In order to increase faith, and decrease fear, you have to fill yourself with God's Word. And then when circumstances arise, instead of operating out of fear, speak God's Word and watch FAITH fill the cup!
But a word of warning, if you are already in the middle of your storm and you haven't filled your cup with faith, don't despair. Jesus will stretch out His hand and lift you up, giving you a new opportunity to get in His Word, and fill your cup with faith. Otherwise, you will find yourself in the same situation, always relying on Him to rescue you--and never hearing those words, "O you of great faith!"