We all struggle with unbelief. Even the most faithful, lifelong Christians will confess to moments where they have struggled with belief. It isn’t always easy to believe. We may read that God is good and faithful and just. And then we look around and wonder why our experience does not often match the goodness of God’s creation. We may hear that God loves us but not feel all that loved. We may see that God is at work in other people and feel as though he is not at work in us. To struggle with unbelief is okay. It means that we are not taking what someone else has told us and making it our own. We are seeking God ourselves. We are searching and aching for something more.
In the Bible, there is a story which resonates with me. A father is struggling with an illness that has debilitated his son since birth. I can only imagine this father has spent days, weeks, months, years watching his son battle. It must have been devastating each time he had an episode, never knowing if this is will be what ends his life. I hear in his words desperation and fear. He just wants to see his son healed. To see his son in such torment is more than he can take. He begs for help from the disciples. They try. They really do give it their every effort. They do all they know to do. It doesn’t work. The wind had to be knocked out of the father, hearing one more time it was impossible. He could not be healed. The father meets Jesus and simply begs for mercy. He is fine with pity. He just wants help. He just wants hope. Jesus tells him belief is the key. What comes next shouts from a place of genuine despair with a glimmer of hope.
“I believe…help my unbelief” – I believe this can be better but I have tried everything and I’m so broken. I believe there can be a better day but I haven’t seen a better day in so long I don’t know if it is still possible. I believe this is my son and I love him but I’ve loved him since birth and this hasn’t changed anything. I want to see a new day, a new life, a new opportunity…help me as I wrestle with this unbelief that has overwhelmed me for so many years.
Help me with my unbelief. This is my prayer. When we see tragedies happen…when we see loved ones struggle…when we find ourselves without words and searching for an ounce of hope…help me with my unbelief. When we don’t know where God is through it all…help me with my unbelief. When we just need a word to remind us we are not alone in this…help me with my unbelief. When we simply do not see that anything will ever get better…I believe, help me with my unbelief. Help me…Help.
May God answer our prayer…with hope, love, and healing.
21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
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