August 7, 2017
“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” Mark 9:24 (ESV)
I’ve been a believer for almost four decades now. Or at least that was what I would have told you until recently.
Don’t get me wrong. I gave my 10-year-old heart fully to Jesus, and I’ve never looked back. I know He’s my Savior, and each year has brought experiences with Him that are growing in me maturity, love and passion for God. I’m still a work in progress, but He’s clearly at work!
However, the dawning realization Jesus has given me this year is a painful gift. He’s giving me a startling look at how unbelief has permeated my life.
Like I do each year, last December I asked God to give me a word for focus and growth in the coming year. I heard God whisper “believe” into my heart.
This year my word is going to be easy, I thought. I’ve believed since I was a little girl!
I knew I needed to dig deeper to understand what God wanted to teach me about my word for the year, so I started a study. Each morning, I sit with my Bible, a pen and a pretty notebook and dig into the next verse with the word “believe” in it. Day after day God has been teaching me about His view of belief from Scripture and shining His unrelenting light into my heart.
It turns out that I have a lot of unbelief.
As I sat in complete silence in the presence of God a few weeks ago, I wrote all the areas where my faith wavers and doubt prevails — in my parenting, my job, my marriage, my calling … the exposing list went on and on.
I knew God was showing me truth by the way I worry sometimes and by the nights I toss and turn. I know it’s true by my control-freak ways and the times I try to “help” Him manage my life.
I wanted to argue with God and tell Him that I do love Him and believe Him, but all I could whisper was the cry of a father from long ago, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:14-29 tells the story of a father who was struggling. His son was mute and had severe convulsions that endangered him, so he had brought the boy to the disciples who were unable to heal him.
Then, the father approached Jesus with a pebble of faith and a mountain of doubt and said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (vs. 22)
Jesus’ response to him holds indignation and challenge that rings in my ears, “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’” (vs. 23)
In the past, I’ve been so much like that father.
When the circumstances seem overwhelming …
When my own abilities have run dry …
When others have failed to help …
Then, I approach Jesus with a wavering faith, wishing He could help but not sure that He can or will. But Jesus is challenging me and changing me just like He transformed that dad.
With His answer to the father, Jesus puts doubt to rest. He’s simply waiting for our faith to come in line with His power.
Belief is knowing that Jesus is fully able.
Belief is approaching Him with confidence that He will help, not wondering if He’s capable. It’s coming to Him first instead of worrying and waiting. It’s understanding that there are no “ifs” with Jesus. Instead, we’re called to believe that everything is possible for Him and to apply that belief in every area of our lives.
I’ve believed that Jesus is my Savior since I was a girl, but this year He’s transforming me into a true believer. Putting our doubts aside, crying out to Him in our uncertainties, and embracing true faith changes us and puts the help that Jesus holds into our hands. Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief!
Lord, I do believe, but I wrestle with unbelief. Help me to grow in the confidence that You are fully able. Erase the “ifs” about You in my mind and replace my doubt with faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (ESV)
Are you a work in progress too? In Amy’s book, Breaking Up with Perfect, she shares the lessons she’s learned in giving up her own perfection in favor of God’s perfecting work in her.
Visit Amy’s blog today for a beautiful, belief-building PDF that you can print, frame and enjoy.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What Scripture verse erases your doubt and reminds you of God’s faithfulness?
Write it on a notecard and carry it with you to read when doubt strikes.
© 2017 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 07 August 2017.