Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 ESV)
As believers in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I feel assured that at one time or another, we have cast doubt on our very belief. However, it is the flesh in us that causes us to sometimes feel “some type of way.”
In Mark 9 (ESV) a nameless father came to Jesus to ask him to heal his demon-possessed son because the father had asked the disciples to do it, but they could not. Although the father believed that Jesus could heal his son, there was some uncertainty in this father’s mind. This father asked Jesus “if” there was anything that He could do to help his son, please do it.
After Jesus questioned the father, Jesus told him, “All things are possible for one who believes” (23). Then in verse 24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’”
The father realized two things had to happen if his son were going to be healed. He had to confess his belief in Jesus Christ, and he had to pray for all doubt and fear to be removed. Even though I am in the ministry and firmly believe in the Lord Jesus and what He can do, I am crying out at this very moment: Lord, please help my unbelief!
What causes a believer to doubt when he already knows the power of Jesus Christ to work miracles? Charles Stanley offers in “When Faith Wavers” two very definitive answers:
“One reason we are so prone to doubt is that we fail to see God at work in our circumstances. We asked, and nothing happened. But the Lord is not some cosmic bellhop who jumps in response to our requests. He sees the past, present and future and knows the right time for every answer. His invisible hand is already at work on our behalf — arranging situations to accomplish His will, opening hearts and preparing us to receive what He wants to give.
“Another cause for uncertainty is ignorance. If we don’t know God’s ways, we will be disappointed in His response. All too often our prayers are accompanied by expectations of how He will work. When He fails to intervene according to our timetable or anticipated method, we start to doubt. But placing our faith in the Lord and trusting in His good and perfect ways gives us stability as we wait for His answer.”
As I am preparing this message, there is an answer that I, among my family and some close friends, are eagerly awaiting from God about an extremely important issue.
God has shown me in more ways than one that everything is going to be all right, but that devilish element of doubt and fear tends to creep in during my lowest moments.
The enemy wants me to fall apart and say that it is all over, but I know that he is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Lord, please help my unbelief because Satan cannot win this battle! That’s his aim, but I trust Your goal, Lord, is better.
For those of us who may be going through a season of unbelief, join me in two things we need to do.
First, stay in the word so that we can learn and hold fast to God’s way of doing things.
Secondly, read and meditate on this illustration: “Parable: Pray First, Aim High, and Stay Focused on God” (atimetolaugh.org). What a story!
“There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old shotgun and three shells. So, he decided that he would go out and kill something for dinner. As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit, and he shot at the rabbit and missed it. Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. As he went further, he saw a wild turkey in the tree, and he had only one bullet, but a voice came to him and said, ‘Pray first, aim high, and stay focused.’
“However, at the same time, he saw a deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But, then he saw a rattlesnake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake. Still, the voice said again to him, ‘I said, ‘Pray, aim high, and stay focused.’”
“So, the man decided to listen to the voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree, and shot the wild turkey. The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer. The handle fell off the gun, hit the snake in the head and killed it. And, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond.
“When he stood to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat. The snake (Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God.
“Moral of the story: Pray first before you do anything, aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God.”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, stay safe, get involved in righting the wrongs of social injustice, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a retired educator and minister in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)