There are things that I believe and yet often times I doubt them.
I believe that God will provide everything I need. I believe that he will meet all of my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). And yet when money is tight at the end of the month, the car needs repair, the house is falling apart, or you are pregnant with child number four those creeping doubts begin to rise up.
I believe that God is the great protector. He is a fortress, a strong tower, and a shield (Psalm 18:2, 10). And yet, I get scared for my life or the lives of my wife and children.
I believe that God loves me (Ephesians 2:4-5). Yet, when my sin is apparent and I cannot find a single ounce of love for myself, I wonder how God could look upon me with love.
I believe that in Christ I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet, when I do the same things over and over again it is hard to see any shiny newness or difference from the old man.
I believe that the scripture is sufficient for life and salvation (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23). Yet, when I know I am supposed to sit down and read and study I find any distraction in the world.
I believe that the gospel has power to change lives, to rescue people from darkness and bring them into light (Colossians 1:13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18), to give life to those who are dead (Ephesians 2:1-10). Yet, I am reluctant to share the good news of Jesus.
My doubts do not drive me away from God or the scripture. They drive me to it. Without God, I cannot have the faith that I need. Without him giving me faith, I cannot believe as I should believe. I must cry out in times of doubt like the father of the boy with seizures in Mark 9.
The man’s son had an unclean spirit that was causing him to convulse and seize. The father says that it has been going on for a long while and it often led to injuries of the boy. He looks at Jesus and he says, “But, if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” I imagine that the man is at his wits end. His son has been suffering since childhood. He has probably taken his son to see some religious leaders for prayer, healers for healing, and whoever else may offer any advice or help. The disciples have even tried to help and failed. Now, he stands before Jesus. No one has been able to help. The man’s hopes have been dashed, and he is tired. He simply looks at Jesus and says, “If you can do anything, have compassion and help us.” His faith is all but gone.
Jesus responds to the man and says, “If you can! All things are possible for the one who believes.” Jesus’ response is nothing short of cutting. “If you can!” – as if to say, do you realize who you are talking to? Do you realize who I am? Do you realize what I can do?
Immediately, the man cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” As if to say that he has a little bit of belief, but he acknowledges that it is not enough (Mark 9:24).
That is where I often find myself. I have a little bit of belief, but I know it is not enough. That man’s prayer is great in times when I do not feel worthy, when I feel helpless, when I want to control everything, when I think the gospel is powerless. I know I need Jesus to give me faith to believe.
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. Give me the faith I need to believe you. Strengthen my faith, grow my faith, that I may trust in you as I should. Give me faith to glorify you in all my thoughts, words, and actions.”