There’s a Biblical story in Mark, chapter 9, which reveals the experience of a father. The father had a son dealing with convulsions, foaming at the mouth and other outward manifestations from a possessed spirit (some Bible scholars reference the “spirit” as the medical condition- epilepsy). So, the father asked Jesus to take pity on them, and help the boy – “if he can”.
You see, the father had already asked disciples to drive out the demon spirit, but they could not.
Have you ever experienced this? You’ve called your friends and family for help but no one could give you what you needed?
Jesus’s response to the father was direct. He said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NIV)
Honestly, and humbly, the father spoke words I’ve come to admire: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24 NIV)
The first time I read this scripture, it seemed like an oxymoron.
I started judging the father because that’s what we’re inclined to do when we hop on our “spiritual high horse”.
Either you believe or you don’t believe. Pick one! My initial thought afforded only two options.
In reality though, sometimes we experience faith on a spectrum, many of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle depending on the situation.
We believe God can restore someone else’s marriage – but don’t have the same faith in our own relationships.
We believe God will provide all of our spiritual needs, but struggle with trusting him to meet our financial or physical needs.
There are two striking notes I gained from this short interaction.
First, God can handle our honesty. The father in the story was clearly desperate. I’m guessing he had tried everything possible and the only option left was to try was Jesus! He didn’t have the time, or the energy, to fake deep fervent belief. He was honest. His heart’s desire was to believe, but the realities he faced day-to-day made it nearly impossible to maintain faith.
Second, desperation coupled with Jesus leads to miracles.
Sometimes life beats us down so much so that it’s hard to “keep the faith”. God never asked us to “fake it til we make it”. We can come to him, even when we’re lingering in the middle of the faith spectrum. That’s not to say that God doesn’t expect us to have faith. His desire is for us to love him and trust him with our entire being. Still, though, He’s a good father who cares about our heart’s concerns.
Soulwork: Today, be honest. Tell God exactly where you are on the faith spectrum and ask him to help your disbelief.
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