There are so very many uplifting and encouraging Scripture verses...
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you."
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you."
They're wonderful, but often they don't work. We can't do all things, and much that we would like to accomplish remains out of reach.
And some doors stay closed, and we are given a stone rather than a loaf.
Many new Christians see the dichotomy, and look at preachers who see God's favor in obtaining a preferred parking spot, and conclude that Christianity is a sham. They drift away to Eastern religion, to New Age, or to an unfocused agnosticism.
Are we using "sound bite Scripture" to misrepresent God? Are we replacing the Man of Sorrows with Hello Kitty?
Sometimes, perhaps we are.
"Doing all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" means that one can do all through Christ who strengthens us. But Jesus was not a frivolous Savior, dispensing strength for whatever one wanted. He dispensed, and still gives, the kind of strength He needed to survive Calvary.
Not to swing a lucrative business deal
And the mustard seed...the point, I think, is that we don't have that perfect faith possessed by a seed. Through Adam's sin we have doubt mixed with our faith - always.
We can't move mountains just because we say, "Move!"
And when we ask, what are we asking for? Are we looking for grace, seeking after salvation, or are we using this passage as justification for "blab it and grab it"?
Are we knocking on the door to God's heart, or the door to the Ferrari dealership? Will He open both? Or does the door we choose make all the difference in the world?
The Bible isn't a collection of magic spells, and our wildest temporal dreams won't come true if we just believe hard enough.
It 's a guide to Salvation, and the path has been made for us. But those aren't the tracks of Air Jordans, and the aroma we smell is not Vera Wang for Men.
We walk in the path trodden by bare feet, weighted down by a Cross
What we smell is blood.