“I do believe, but help my unbelief.”
These are the words spoken in Mark 9, when a father whose child was possessed came to Jesus. The disciples had already tried and failed to drive out the spirit, so you can imagine this father was probably a little weary because he had already been disappointed before. He said to Jesus, “If you are able to do anything…”
Isn’t that what disappointment does? It takes us from “I know you can do anything, God!” to, “If you are able to do anything, God…”
Jesus responded by saying, “What do you mean if? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.” And the father replied, “I do believe, but help my unbelief.”
A lot of us can resonate with that. We want to believe, but we have so many questions. We’ve seen so many things and had so many experiences that don’t seem to line up. We look at the news and see the violence, hatred, and destruction that surrounds us. We want to believe, but the problem seems a lot closer and a lot bigger than the solution.
This is a picture of my daughter and my husband. She loves it because it looks like she’s holding her daddy in her hand. The truth is that my husband is bigger than my daughter. (Shocking, I know.) But in the photo, she seems bigger because she’s closer. She’s the one in focus. And it works the same way with belief. There are two kingdoms—the kingdom of God and the one of this world—and you are going to believe the one that seems bigger to you. Scripture is clear about the importance of what we meditate on or think about:
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Romans 12:2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, changing the way you think.”
Because what we spend time thinking about is what becomes bigger to us. It’s what we put our faith in, and it’s what we become convinced of. So, to overcome our unbelief, we need to set our minds on the kingdom of God and not this world. We have to continuously meditate on the Word and presence of God until His reality become larger and more in focus than ours. John 12 calls Satan the ruler of this world. So in order to believe God, we can’t look at the way things work here. We can’t write our theology based off our experiences in this world system.
Instead, we look to the Scriptures. We look at how things played out for the people who believed God over this world, even when there was no reason to hope. That’s why we say faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of God. When I look in Scripture, I see a lot of imperfect people with the same shortcomings as me experience the power of God when they choose to believe Him. Over and over, I see the truth of God crash into the truth of this world and overcome it.
“If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.”