I don’t think I would have ever understood Mark 9:24 – “I believe; help my unbelief!” – until these last few days.
I was telling God that I trust in Him and I believe that in him all things are possible — as I was praying over this one specific, personal thing. But even though I was saying “I believe” I felt a part of me not really believing what I was saying to God would happen. But all of me wanted to so completely believe and not have this feeling. Then Mark 9:24 popped into my head.
I can’t even say I was familiar with this verse until a few weeks ago — since I’ve been working on reading the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles and made it thru Mark. And I’m sure that when I read it I gave it some sort of mental thought like “that’s a strange sentence” and then moved on, but I don’t recall it standing out particularly. But in my mind and soul it definitely stuck because on a day when I needed it it returned to me.
Once I prayed “I believe; help my unbelief!” I could feel myself start to let go of whatever I was holding on to in terms of unbelief — not completely; I definitely still needed help with my unbelief. But for 2 days this was a constant prayer and as I repeated it again and again it made my prayer feel so much more authentic. And as an authentic prayer – admitting I had some unbelief – it strengthened me and grew my belief.
I believe in God. I do. I do believe that in Him all things are possible. I believe that God can do whatever He desires to do – He is bound by no laws of science or physics or our humanly-perceived realities. But in this matter of my heart what I longed for felt like I was requesting a miracle, and were I to better just trust that God could and would do it I might get what I prayed for. As my hope grew so grew my prayer. I felt myself praying it more fervently.
But here’s the thing… Add to this belief-unbelief struggle I know that it is not in my time but God’s time, not my will but God’s will and what I believed was possible became very clearly impossible in my lived reality. I have to wait and trust and continue to believe. And when the next time happens that I start to eagerly pray “I believe” I believe I will have less unbelief — because God granted me such grace to see me thru my disappointment and strengthen me and love me and truly help me with my unbelief even though my personal desires were not realized. My spirit resolves to believe.
Bonus Note: God is so great! He led me to re-read my own post on “Patience” today — which is related to this Belief-Unbelief topic. See Lent Day 19.