“I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do . . .”
Wildly hopeless words that I’ve had to hear more than once. At least four times – when a husband and three sons nearly died. One who was in a coma, one in a near fatal car accident, another in kidney failure and yet another with cancer. And what do we do with those words?
It’s sometimes easier to question than believe when we’re in the soul-grip of despair. And in those times, I’ve had several opportunities to cry out a worn-thin prayer, “I believe – help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). Those five words seem to sum us up, because all followers of Jesus have both belief and unbelief. Faith and doubt.
In the gospel of Mark it tells of a father who tried to get help for a demon possessed son who was cast into the fire of life since childhood. No one could help. Not even a disciple. And then, Jesus comes on the scene to remind them of their little faith. Firmly.
“O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? Bring him to Me.”
And the desperate parent pleads, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help.” I’m thinking Jesus must’ve raised a holy eyebrow when He turned to the man with the organic and simple answer, “IF you can?” All things are possible for him who believes.”
And here it comes ~ I believe, help my unbelief. And with that the Lord honored the man’s honest faith and made his son whole. Jesus mercifully understands the intention of our finite heart. He pulled Peter out of the water when he tried strutting across the waves and He took the hand of Thomas and placed it into His scar of sacrifice to let him know resurrection is real.
Prayer is not about controlling our circumstances but to trust and embrace the mystery of what we do not understand. A short prayer of a distressed father interceding for his child tells us that he was losing his fight for faith but believed Jesus was big enough to not only heal but to understand.
I know there are many right now who feel like the enemy is right at their heels – this is not the time to stop in your tracks. We have to hold on to what we believe – how ever strong or weak it is. Because God is not almost sovereign – He is altogether sovereign.
When we’re tempted to cry out in disbelief because the mountain won’t get out of the way, may we see God working in the valley. And may we reach out to others who are struggling in their doubting space — not with a bunch of sanctimonious phrases, but with a word of truth and comfort.
Faith is not a blindness-mindless acceptance of what has been heard but what has been experienced within a million moments . . . and it will be again, dear person.
I would have fainted if I had not believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the living. Psalm twenty-seven-thirteen