Do you ever feel like your life is contradiction? That you contradict yourself? That your feelings are conflicted? Perhaps you have struggled with some of the following:
- You are a person of faith but you have no faith
- You are saved from the pits of Hell, yet you stuggle to find joy in every day life
- You have been extended immeasureable grace, but you don’t walk in that grace
- God has answered your prayers time and time again, yet you do not have hope
These are all contradictions! The thoughts of each sentence are in conflict with themselves and yet the sentences are true. Sort of like oxy morons.
I have found myself in conflict with myself a lot in the past two years and it is so very strange to me. I know certain things to be true, yet I don’t know. Like Randy on American Idol, I’m not feelin’ it man.
And so I decided to do a Google search for struggling with faith. Faith theologically, faith for the every day, faith in every sense of the word.
And the results brought me to the most wonderful, little-known passage in Mark 9, starting with verse 14:
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “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!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:14-29 ESV)
How amazing is this. Jesus healed the son of a man who admitted he struggled with unbelief! This man told the Son of God to his face that he believed in Him, and yet, he still had unbelief. A total contradiction, and yet totally true. And how did Jesus respond? HE HEALED THE BOY. Note that the boy was brought first to the disciples and they failed to heal him. Jesus said at the end of the passage that this could only be done by prayer. How often do we run to others and not Jesus Himself with problems that only Jesus can address?
What a gracious and mericful Savior we have! His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness, when I so lack in faith.
I believe, help my unbelief!