Friday, October 9, 2009

I believe, but...

If you're like me, you know you believe, but you sometimes feel guilty because you're pretty sure you don't believe enough. However much "enough" is, we think this must be the problem because we haven't seen the answer yet that we're looking for. I think God made sure the following story got included in the gospels for people like us:

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, "Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him. He can't speak because he is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk. And whenever this evil spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth and become rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it."
Jesus said to them, "You faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."

So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. "How long has this been happening?" Jesus asked the boy's father. He replied, "Since he was very small. The evil spirit often makes him fall into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can."
"What do you mean, 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."
The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!"
When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. "Spirit of deafness and muteness," he said, "I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!" Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy lay there motionless, and he appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd, "He's dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. (Mark 9:17-27)
"I do believe, but help me not to doubt."

And that was enough. Jesus healed the boy.

There's a lot more that can be taken from this passage, but for now I just want you to be encouraged by this one aspect of it. The man knew that Jesus was his only hope and even then he knew that there were shadows of doubt in his heart. Jesus knows your heart. He knows you believe and He knows when you try to squelch down those twinges of doubt. Acknowledging it is good for us--we're not tricking Him anyway.

Offer your needs and your inadequacies up to Him. "I me not to doubt." He alone is the answer for that long-awaited healing, that broken relationship, that dead-end street, that sin that so easily besets you. Give it all to Him with the seed of faith that you have and ask Him to increase your faith. I'm convinced that He cannot resist such an honest and genuinely longing heart. He loves you so much.


  1. My favourite verse accompanies the same story, but in the book of Matthew. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." (Matt. 17:20)

    As the study notes in my Bible say, "...If you are facing a problem that seems as big and immovable as a mountain, turn your eyes to Christ to look for more faith. Only then will you be able to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way."

    Not quite the point you're trying to make, I know... but it's what your blog reminded me of today, so thank you.

  2. Thank you, Michelle, for a great reminder/devotion!