I relate to the doubters. The ones who question the logic of faith, wanting to see before they believe.
You are my people.
Even still, 25+ years in the faith, I know God rescued me. I hear Him speak. I continually know Him more, and yet still, I doubt. Distracted, I hesitate before walking through the doors He opens. Detoured by circumstance or a marriage coma, I question His presence. His power. His plan.
In Mark chapter 9 we find another one of our people. A man whose son is afflicted by an unclean spirit. This man, let’s call him Frank—cause not all Thomas’s are doubters—brings the boy to Jesus. But Frank (Bible Stories Jen Style remember) doesn’t find the Christ, only nine of the disciples.
No matter. This is Mark 9. Frank heard, back in Mark 6 that Jesus gave all twelve of the disciples the authority over unclean spirits. These once-fisherman now …
cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. (Mark 6:13, ESV)
But when it came to heal Frank’s kid, they couldn’t do it. That’s why, when Jesus comes back, He finds the disciples arguing with scribes from the temple.
Jesus asks the group: “What are you arguing about with them?”
Frank answers: “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute … So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
Jesus: “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
I picture the disciples as embarrassed. Here they are, carrying the name of Jesus, commissioned to take part in His ministry, and they can’t heal the boy. I image the scribes pouncing on this opportunity to disprove Christ. Arguing that if the disciples can’t heal, Jesus couldn’t help Frank’s son either. At last, a failure.
Frank looks at the shortcomings of men, and questions the power of God.
Frank turns to Jesus: “—if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus: “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, ESV)
That. Right. There. Frank saw that the most important shortcoming to overcome was his own. He proclaimed belief over his heart even as he asks Jesus to help him conquer his doubts.
The way to overcome a lack of faith isn’t to find all the answers. We can research and read. Question, ponder, debate, and look for proof. I encourage you, if that’s the season you’re in, continue to seek answers. But there will come a point when we can’t reason doubt away. We must choose faith. To believe without seeing.
I can’t tell you how often I pray this exclamation to Jesus.
“I believe; help my unbelief!”
Trusting God in hardship, and in victory.
Walking in His calling. Believing His Word. Relying on His will. I still wrestle with unbelief, but I refuse to tap out. I choose belief, and I ask Jesus to empower me to live life according to what I believe. According to Him, not my circumstances.
And He always provides.
It’s worth noting here, that when the disciples hang out with Jesus privately, they asked Him what they did wrong. Did they say the wrong thing? Have a sin in their heart? Not have power against this kind of attack?
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:28–29, ESV)
Ask God to handle what you cannot. Sometimes in our Christian walks we can feel like the issues we face shouldn’t be big deals to us. That we should be able to handle them already. Not deal with that sin. Not be hindered by that enemy opposition. Let God empower you. There’s never shame in coming to God. Maturity of faith doesn’t mean we can live without Him. It means we’re learning how to live more with Him. (Not sure how to pray? 5 Steps for Beginners)
If you also struggle with unbelief, I’d love to pray for you, please comment below! Let’s stand in agreement together on the Word of God and ask Him to build our faith. To live empowered … strengthened … guided by trust in Him.