I think we all want to have more faith. We want to go through the circumstances that life hands out, the tests and trials and frustrations with full, triumphant confidence that God has it.
But then life hands us that circumstance.
We started well but now we’re waiting and well past the initial resilience we first had.
We meet up with that test and in fear of what might happen, rely on our own ways.
We don’t see and because we can’t see we begin to fill with self-doubt and really – God doubt.
“I believe; help my unbelief!”
Those are the words of a father whose son desperately needed to be healed. In our 100 Days with Christ study, we read Mark 9 this week which tells of a boy who was demon-possessed, causing seizures where he foamed at the mouth and gnashed his teeth. The seizures often nearly took his life as he rolled into fires and rivers.
The father had brought his son to Jesus, but Jesus wasn’t there. And when the apostles tried to heal him, they could not.
Picture the scene: A crushed father. A heartbreaking need. Powerless apostles. Disdainful rabbis. An expectant crowd.
The perfect setting not just to meet need and move on but to teach those who would follow Jesus about faith. Critical lessons we need to get down deep.
First, unbelief is a sin. I’m tempted to call it a weakness. A wrestling. A less-than constitution as if God hands out faith of different sizes to each of us.
But Jesus sternly rebuked his apostles for their unbelief. You see, He’d already equipped them with everything they needed to heal this man.
Faith is the Samsonian lock of the Christian; cut it off, and you may put out his eyes—and he can do nothing. ~ Spurgeon.
Second, all things are possible with God. Who knows how many times this father’s hopes had been dashed over the years. It seemed improbable. Even the apostles – those closest to Jesus — had been unable to help.
And so, bringing his son to Jesus, this father cried, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
We may have to wait well past our point of natural resilience.
We may have to fight off fears and imaginations of what could happen.
We may not see the possibility in the situation at all.
But there are no if’s with God.
Finally, we need to know faithlessness can result from prayerlessness.
When the disciples asked Jesus privately why they’d been unable to drive the demon out, Jesus told them it could only come out by prayer.
Oh friend, how easily we forget that we’ve been equipped but we must also be empowered through prayer.
It’s not a try-harder faith.
My faith will fail every time if I try in my own strength. Faith is a gift from God and we must go to Him regularly, boldly, unceasingly to give us what we do not have on our own.
These recent words from Beth Moore have stayed with me:
WE WILL NOT LIVE BOLDER THAN WE PRAY.
THERE ARE PARTS OF OUR CALLINGS, WORKS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND DEFEATS OF THE DARKNESS THAT WILL COME NO OTHER WAY THAN FURIOUS, FERVENT, FAITH-FILLED, UNCEASING PRAYER.
If we find ourselves faithless, perhaps it’s because we are prayerless.
There are no if’s with God. When we go to God, He will give us the faith we need to walk through the circumstances life hands us.