Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lord, I Believe; Help my Unbelief

The story is familiar, but short. A man who's tired and weary with the constant vigilance required to keep his son safe and alive.

"Imagine the pain of the father. Other dads could watch their children grow and mature; he could only watch his suffer. While others were teaching their sons an occupation, he was just trying to keep his son alive....

"He was desperate and tired, and his prayer reflects both.

"'If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.'

Listen to that prayer. Does it sound courageous? Confident? Strong? Hardly." -Max Lucado from He Still Moves Stones

I needed this story this morning.

The other day I was discussing this thing called faith with a friend. What is faith? I know the Hebrews definition, "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.". That sounds good, but how does it convert down to practicality in the hearts that have been struggling, the prayers that have seemingly gone unanswered, the tears that have fallen unheeded, and the hopes that have been crushed under the negativity of life?

How do we, how do I grab hold of faith? Am I supposed to be praying for a miracle every day? Yes, I know every day that I wake up alive is in itself a miracle. Every time I stop and ponder and gaze at my little girl, I am in awe of the miracle that God gave us. I don't always think of it as a miracle, but when I stop and think I am brought to tears at the gift of life that God has given to us. Isn't that enough? Should I long for more? Should I just accept this miracle as my miracle from God and not expect anything else? Or should I go on longing, wondering if there are more miracles on the horizon? And what about my friends who never seem to experience a miracle, who seem to have to plod slowly and steadily through each day wondering when the sun's going to break through? Are they just missing the miraculous? Have we become calloused to the standard definition of miracle that we are missing the little everyday miracles and so our faith is not as strong as it should be?

Should I be viewing every new word, every new accomplishment that Amber makes as a miracle? I will say potty-training does seem to require a miracle in both the child's heart and the mom's to have the patience!!! :) :)

Am I looking at faith completely wrong?  How is this supposed to look?

And so I am comforted by this desperate father. He came to Jesus and he didn't even necessarily believe Jesus could heal his son. He says, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." He was talking to the Son of God here and he questions whether Jesus can really help him. We know better than that. We know, in our minds and our brains, that God is able. He is able to heal the sick little boy that was born too early, He is able to heal the father tragically wounded in a senseless accident, He is able to take the interrupted pregnancy and make it last all nine months, He is able to provide the funds to pay the endless bills, He is able to have the birth mom sign off on a child so empty arms can be filled, He is able, so is it our faith that makes it unable?

I'm not sure if this man had faith and yet he must have had a little. He had tried the disciples first and they had been unable to help him and so he had turned to Jesus. It makes sense why he might have questioned why Jesus could heal.

Jesus says, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believe." Ah, there it is. I do have to have faith for things to happen. But look at what the man says next. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

That right there is the core I want to grab onto with both fists. I do believe, but my faith is lacking, and so I cry out to Jesus, help my unbelief I say. Help me know how to pray. Help me to believe that You are able and that You are even willing and ready to help. Help me to believe. That is what I want to cling to, that desperate but faith-filled prayer. I believe, but help me.

I wonder, this is more of a side note, if God weeps at the fallen state of this world that causes us to struggle with our unbelief, the sickness and death that are a result of sin. While God is able, I do think we can learn more trust and faith by clinging tenaciously to what we can't see when the bottom is falling out of our world, than what we would learn if everything was always smooth sailing.

I want to have more faith, I really do.

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