Belief or Unbelief, That is the Question

The man sought out Jesus to ask for his son’s healing, and in Mark 9:22, he says to Christ, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

With patience, Jesus zeroed in on the man’s doubt reminding him that everything is possible for those who believe. The man’s response to Jesus?

Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Mark 9:24

This concept frustrated me every time I read it.  Christ accepted the man’s response and healed his son, but why? It made no sense.  How can someone believe, and in the next breath, ask for help for his unbelief?  Either you believe or you don’t, right?

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my mother’s accident and slow recovery in  The Weight of A Mountain.  In that post, I explored the faith that can move mountains.  In the middle of a very difficult night full of prayer and begging, I had found the faith to believe in the Lord’s ability to heal my mother miraculously, and  I began to walk through my days with a positive outlook and a firm, strong belief that He would heal her.

Then, Mom experienced a really bad day.  A day where she didn’t know me…or anyone else.  A day where she didn’t speak at all and her eyes revealed a distance I couldn’t accept.  Over the next week, all of her progress evaporated before my watchful attendance.  I wanted to believe in the healing power of God, and I did believe in His ability to heal her, but in the face of my mother’s decline, doubt plagued me.  I believed, but the faith that gave me strength and comfort fell weak in the face of the reality before my eyes.

Whoa!  I believed, but I didn’t believe!  I knew God could heal Mom and asked Him to heal her, fully convinced in His ability to do so, but I’m human and I succumbed to doubt.  Will He heal her?  What happened to her progress? Questions led me down a dark path, a path that began to doubt.

It’s all so simple to me now, but until I faced an actual belief/unbelief dilemma, I just couldn’t grasp it.

Mom’s progress has improved, but she’s still not made the recovery I’ve hoped and prayed for.  This fact doesn’t stop me from praying for miraculous healing.  I believe. And I accept that some days, I need the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome the doubt of my unbelief.

How is your belief challenged?  How do you cope with it?

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3 thoughts on “Belief or Unbelief, That is the Question

  1. Yes, I agree. The key is that we believe He CAN, and yet, at those times when things aren’t going as we think they should, it’s easy to get caught up in unbelief. Continuing to pray for your sweet mama.

  2. Barbara, you’ve been so strong in your belief that your mother will be healed and I admire you for that. I tend to be a little more pessimistic about these things. (Worked in a church for 12 years and saw a lot of wonderful people lose their health battles.) The pastors always reminded me that sometimes complete healing doesn’t happen until God takes them home with Him.

    Keep your belief. Your mother needs your strength and hope. But be sure to guard your heart with the knowledge that this place is not what it’s all about. This is the place we have to get through before we go to our true home, with God. In that place we will be strong and healthy and happy and whole.

  3. My beliefs are still in the process of shaping themselves, so the challenge for me lies more in discovering where my heart really lies, but I’m loving the journey. I find my journey most difficult when encountering people rather than simply opening my heart to listen to what is naturally present. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy and encourage discussions with people I meet over faith, religion, and beliefs. I believe that’s how we learn and grow through sharing ourselves and our faiths.

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