When I read this chapter of Mark, I always relate to one person in the story, and it’s not Jesus.
I’m the father begging Jesus to save his son. I’m the father who says to Jesus “if you can…” I’m the father who pleads with Jesus to help his unbelief.
“O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:19-24 ESV)
I believe. I do. I believe that Jesus is who He says He is. But I need Him to help the unbelief I have that He is still working in my life. That’s the cynic in me. That’s the visual learner in me. The hard proof I have, the things I can see and touch and hear, have left me feeling desperate, unbelieving.
I want to believe that Jesus knows what He is doing with my life. I want to believe that He knows better than I do. I want to believe in His promises to make my paths straight. Too often I stay focused on the physical evidence instead of Jesus’ promise that He is faithful. Too often I choose to look at my circumstances and slip into an unbelief that keeps me from fully trusting Jesus.
Thankfully, I am not alone. Thankfully, God thought it a common enough human problem that He decided to show me a biblical example of my cynical self.
Through this father I am able to see that what I need to do is continually ask Jesus to help my unbelief. He gave the control of his unbelief to Jesus. And not only did he surrender control to Jesus, he was able to see his son healed. He was a recipient of Jesus’ grace and mercy and power.
But first he asked Jesus to help his unbelief.
My personal prayer is that I will always be able to turn to Jesus to be the one to help my unbelief. That I won’t turn to the people who cannot help me with my unbelief. That I will always speak out loud my unbelief, not because Jesus doesn’t already know, but because my cynical self needs to humbly approach Him in everything.
Feel I’m on the verge of some great truth
Where I’m finally in my place
But I’m fumbling still full proof
And it’s cluttering my space
Casting shadows on my face
And If I stumble, and if I stall
And if I slip now, and if I should fall
And if I can’t be, all that I could be
Will you? Will you wait for me?
Jesus, I believe. But when I stumble, will You wait for me? Will You help my unbelief? Will You be my belief when I can’t see it? Will You be all that I will never be?