I Believe; Help My Unbelief

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24


This verse keeps going through my mind lately. The short last part, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief..”

Within two breaths I say I believe, but also I don’t believe. It reminds me of James saying that blessing and cursing should not come from the same mouth. But the heart pours out of the mouth anyway. We really are a bundle of cells mixed with contradictions.

We say words that curse our day with a shroud of negativity and lies. From that same mouth can come words of love, comfort, blessing. Our eyes and ears can take in sights and sounds of loveliness as well as sights and sounds of ugliness. “Lord , I believe; help my unbelief..”

The man was the father of a child suffering from convulsions. The man asked for compassion and Jesus told him:

 “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

How wise of this man to admit and ask Jesus for help as soon as the words, “I Believe” came from his mouth. This is so close to reality even now so many thousands of years later. Jesus tells this man, “if you can believe.” This implies possibility.

If any of us want to believe that through prayer and fasting whatever ails us, whatever throws us to the ground and takes over us can be removed. The things causing us to be in a form we hardly even recognize as ourselves Christ is able to change. It seems meaningful that right before this man cried out to Jesus for help, that Jesus and his disciples had been on a mountain where Jesus Himself had been changed. The transfiguration of Jesus Christ right before the eyes of Peter, and James and John.

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.  His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.  And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—  because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid.

 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Mark 9:2-7

On a side note I find amusing. Peter not knowing what to say said what he said. Jesus didn’t need a tabernacle. But Peter was so passionate in his love. (Maybe I’ll write more on that later).

Let’s turn our attention back to belief. I know I want to believe but we all have moments where we doubt God, maybe not his actual being, but we doubt that in any given circumstance that he will continue to be the same God he has already shown himself to be. God tells us not to sin in our anger. Could it also be said about belief?

Doing contrary to what we feel like doing. Instead of hurting someone in our anger we could also step into an unknown with our disbelief riding on our shoulders but maybe in the palm of our tightly fisted hand we hold one little mustard seed, which God says is enough. I will leave you with this mind bending quote from C.S. Lewis on believing:

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

photo taken on a Sunday afternoon

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