“I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.”
I recently read this in the BASIS Archives and thought it was worthy of repeating. It was written by the previous director of BASIS, Judy Blore.
The scene (Mark 9:14-29) happens immediately after Jesus and friends (Peter, James and John) come back from the mountain top where they were met by Elijah and Moses, where Jesus was “transfigured!” That must have been impressive! Then the disciples heard the voice of the Holy Spirit again. Impressive! Coming down from this experience, the four of them found an animated crowd gathered. There was a boy, some disciples who failed to heal, some accusing religious leaders, many spectators and a disappointed dad.
“What are you arguing with them about?” [Jesus] asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit.”
This is how the man describes his son’s condition: “…since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into the fire or the river to do away with him.”
This is the dad’s request: “If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” Hear the desperate cry for compassion and help!
This is the exchange between Jesus and the dad: “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
Like this boy, your child was in a life threatening situation. You may have prayed your child would be saved from too. It didn’t happen, at least not in this earthly life.
Jesus heals and tells us to ask for it. But He does not heal everyone who asks. It’s not determined by the quality of our prayers. It is determined by His will and His plans to bring glory to Himself. Those decisions are made in His own character. The disciples tried but couldn’t save the child in the situation. They asked Jesus why He was successful and they were not. “…his disciples asked him privately, ’Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer. ‘”
You are invited to pray: for your own emotional healing; for your spouse’s or other children’s; for your marriage to not only survive but to be a place where everyone thrives! Do you believe Jesus heals? Do you believe you can feel better? Do you believe you can function, not just better, but well? Do you believe there will be meaning and fulfillment in your life in the future? I believe Jesus has promised these things for you.
I believe God is good; that He is who He says He is. What is hard for me to believe is that there is good for me or my child or anyone in all of history in THIS event. I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.
I believe that nothing can happen to me that is outside His love for me. He said so in Romans 8:38-39. What is hard to believe is that the One who loves me and my child would allow or plan THIS to happen.
I believe God heals, but He didn’t heal my child of THIS disease. I believe God heals broken hearts, yet I feel so horrible, so sad. I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!
I believe, Lord, help my unbelief! Is that a prefect prayer? NO! Is it prayed by a perfectly faithful believer? NO! Is this a prayer Jesus hears and answers? YES! Just like the dad in the story, we don’t have to be perfect in our faith or our lives or our words to be heard! Jesus is listening. Go to Him honestly as your imperfect self and ask for answers and solutions to your every need. He will answer with exactly His perfect will for you.
The kind of heartbreak that comes with the death of a child can only heal through prayer. Keep coming to the Comforter for comfort. Keep pouring out your heart. Keep asking that you won’t be permanently injured (thrown into fire or water) by your loss but that you will be restored to a good place where you are living again and thriving. Keep praying.