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More Than Hope: A Belief Assessment

(AI Image of Mustard Seeds)

After reading a few verses in the Book of Matthew one night, I began to wonder. Jesus said something in the text that caused me to reflect. There was a little boy in need of healing. An evil spirit possessed him, so the disciples were summoned to cast the demon out. This wasn’t an unordinary task for the disciples. They had cast spirits out before and proceeded to do what the little boy's father had asked them.

However, despite their previous successes, the disciples could not cast out the spirit. Their efforts were met with resistance, and they were left confused. Seeing their struggle, the father turned to Jesus for help, recounting how the disciples had failed. In response, Jesus replied, “Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?”

Jesus summoned the little boy, cast the devil out, and the child was healed. Afterward, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unsuccessful in casting out the spirit. Jesus responded in Matthew 17:20:

Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Jesus went on to mention how that particular demon could not come out but by prayer and fasting. So of course, if we are met with resistance in casting out things in our lives that harm us, we should try prayer and fasting if we haven’t already.

But if I’m being honest, I have prayed and fasted … and yet, a few mountains in my life have yet to be removed. And so, that’s why I began to ponder. I believe in Jesus, and I believe in his words. If he said mountains would be removed if I do the following, then they should be removed… and yet—as I stated—those mountains still stand tall.

So, then, “Is it my faith? Do I lack faith?” I thought as I evaluated myself. Not with a condemning eye but with an honest one, I assessed my belief. I realized that I was hopeful for the removal of the mountains, but I had yet to completely, totally, believe.

I knew this by the way that I spoke about the mountains. When conversing with my husband, I would say things like, “I don’t know if the Lord will do it for me, but I’m going to keep praying that he will.” There’s a problem with speaking like this … well, at least for me.

Please don’t misunderstand me, there is hope in this type of speech, and hope is good. Hope means we are optimistic that our heart’s desire will come to pass. The Bible teaches us to hope in the Lord, and he will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). We are taught to hold on to the hope that we have in Christ Jesus (Romans 8). And God states that he has plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future in Jeremiah 29:11.

Hope is beautiful. It allows us to wait in excited expectation of God and what he will do through us and for us. We all need hope. We all need something to look forward to. Hope is an awesome gift from God, and it is indeed a good and godly thing to possess.

But bear with me for a second.

When you turn on the faucet to take a bath, do you hope that water will flow? Or do you blindly believe that it will flow? When you lay down to sleep at night, do you hope the bed frame will support you? Or do you just crash in bed, wholeheartedly believing that the frame will support your body weight throughout the night? When you go to a restaurant, do you hope they’ll have food to serve? Or do you undoubtedly believe that the establishment will grant you food if you grant them money?

You see, hope in this context alludes to a slither of doubt. I have never gone to the bathroom and merely hoped the water would run. No, I believed that it would run. You know why? Because it has never refused to run water when I turned on the faucet. I’ve never hesitated to lay in bed at night—I’ve never thought it was unable to support my weight. Why? Because it’s always supported my weight and the weight of my entire family. And I’ve never gone to any eatery with even a hint of uncertainty about whether I would receive food and drink. I’ve always believed food—and good food—would be available.

So, when it comes to my mountains, why am I only hoping they will be removed? Why do I not outright believe that they will be removed? Doesn’t God’s track record prove that he answers the prayers of his elect? Isn’t the Bible a witness to the fact that God moves on behalf of his chosen—even if it’s not according to our timeline? Doesn’t the Word say that nothing would be impossible for us if we had faith? So, why do we only hope? Why don’t we believe?

The disciples could not hope the demon out of the child. They had to believe that through the power of God, the demon would be removed. Now, make no mistake. God is so incredibly kind that he will and can remove mountains even when all we have is hope. It appears hope is all the demon-possessed father had when he cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

The father may have thought his belief was minuscule or even nonexistent, but his hope was evident by his seeking Christ. And because he sought the Lord, his hope worked. But as for the disciples, hope alone wouldn’t have sufficed. They had to believe.

And so, today, I do believe that the Lord is calling me to believe. I can’t just hope for the removal of the mountains. I have to believe that they will be removed. And so, dear reader, in some cases, I dare say that hope isn’t enough.

You have to do more than hope. You have to believe.

I am praying that my hope will mature into belief. And if you are struggling with what appears to be unmovable mountains in your life, I pray that your hope will also age into belief. May this message bless you. Through the power of God through Jesus Christ, his Son, may you do more than hope.

May you believe.


Quin Arrington is a Christian wife, mother, and author with books available on Amazon at

Thank you for your time. God Bless!

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