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


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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