I Believe, Help my Unbelief

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 29-31; Mark 9:1-29


20 They brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a fit. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been going on?”

He said, “Since he was a child. 22 It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him. If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!”

23 Jesus said to him, “‘If you can do anything’? All things are possible for the one who has faith.”

24 At that the boy’s father cried out, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” (Mark 9:20-24, Common English Bible).

Imagine the scene. A boy is possessed by demons. Many believe he had epilepsy or some other affliction that comes with serious seizers. Who of us, if we had such a child and we were to learn of a new doctor in town who could permanently cure our child, wouldn’t take that child to see that doctor? Of course, we would. We all would.

That is the scene. A man whose son has epilepsy comes first to the disciples asking them to cure his son. The disciples tried but fail in their efforts. So, next, the man and his son are trying to reach the desired outcome with Jesus.

Along the way, however, Jesus says something to the father that is pretty interesting. Jesus said, “All things are possible for the one who has faith.”

I find it an interesting statement when paired with a story from a few days ago when we talked about Jesus being in his hometown and was unable to perform miracles because of the lack of faith on the part of the city’s citizens. The implication is, miracles happen but one must believe in miracles. It is a little like the idea of magic. In order for magic to be real, the audience has to believe it is real. Please, before anyone goes crazy on me or anything, I am not trying to equate Jesus’ miracles and magic. My only point is, for magic to be real, you must believe. For miracles to happen, you must believe. As I said a few days ago, sure God can do anything God wants to do. We believe God is omnipotent, all-powerful. If that is true, God must be able to do miracles with or without us. But think about this, why would God want to do miracles with someone who didn’t believe? To convince them to believe? It could be but wouldn’t such a person be likely to dismiss the idea of a divine miracle as something less dramatic?

For his part, the father gives an unusual reply. “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” Most of us know it by the more familiar, “I believe, help my unbelief.” When I read this I can really identify with this man. No, I have never had one of my children or grandchildren afflicted with a serious disease. Still, I do understand.

I believe. I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. At the same time, however, there are also those moments in time when I struggle with that belief. There are days when belief seems so far away. And yet, I believe. I want to believe. I have to believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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