Faith has always seemed mysterious to me, how some people can have it and others struggle to find it. There isn’t a formula or steps a person can walk through to attain it–in fact, faith is almost the opposite. Faith is relying on somebody or something to live up to its promise, and the results are often out of one’s control. Faith is surrender, and at times, faith is frightening.
I’ve never had trouble believing in God; I find it harder to have faith in the idea that the world and all its beautiful intricacies do not point to the hand of a creator. I read the Bible, and I see prophecy after prophecy fulfilled, parallelism illustrated in books written hundreds of years apart, and the literature teacher in me delights in the richness of the pages. The words of Jesus hit me at the core, and I believe.
Something resonates in my soul, something that awakens my spirit to the idea that these words are true. And while doubts have come, they quickly wash away as sand pulled underneath the retracting tide.
While I believe, I completely understand why others don’t. No matter the number of prophecies fulfilled, historical evidence retrieved, or miracles performed, believing in the words of the Bible requires one to accept some difficult ideas: the hand of God parts the Red Sea through a shepherd’s staff, a man lives in the belly of a great fish for three days, a virgin gives birth to a son, and a Son ascends into heaven after experiencing death and life anew.
Tough ideas to wrap around one’s mind, yet I believe. I read about walls tumbling down after a group of Israelites circle them seven times; I taste the wine that Jesus made, saving a bridegroom from the embarrassment of having run out; and I wonder at the miracle of a bush aflame but not burnt.
But while I have faith in a big God and the miracles that He performed in another time, another place, I find that I don’t always have that same faith allowing me to believe He could work through me. While hearing a teaching on Gideon in church, I marveled at the faith of a man who believed God at His word that his mere army of 300 men would sufficiently destroy a Midianite army of over 100,000. I can believe that God asked someone else to trust Him, and He provided, but I can’t imagine trusting God in that way myself.
I want to be the woman who can pray and believe that what she is asking can happen. I want to be the Christian who has faith enough to act on the prompt of God, no matter the difficulty of what He asks. I want to be the person who could give up everything without knowing the next chapter in the story.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in chapter nine of Mark. A man requests that Jesus, if He can, heal his demon-possessed son who has suffered since childhood. After Jesus responds that “everything is possible for one who believes,” the man cries out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 23, 24, New International Version, 2010).
I get him. I understand believing in my heart that God has the power to do all He promises, but I wrestle with doubt at the same exact time. I want to believe, but I need help with my unbelief.
But I am comforted by the end of this story. Jesus does the impossible; He heals the boy. Despite any unbelief with which this man is fighting, God works a miracle. God opens the man’s eyes to His power and deals with his unbelief.
And I am no different than this man in the Bible. I have unbelief, but I also believe. And if I ask God to help me with my unbelief, He will–and that fact is scary because I don’t know what uttering those words–“God, help me overcome my unbelief!”–will mean for my life.
And I don’t know what they will mean for yours–perhaps revealing a path that points to a creator, perhaps driving you into the arms of a Savior, or perhaps giving you the courage to face the army that stands ahead–but He will answer.
Now the question is, will we make that demand? Will we demand that He help us overcome our unbelief? Because until we do, we are missing out on the second half of the story.
We’re just a mass of people waiting at the edge of the water as the Egyptian army follows ready to attack. We’re just a tired, beaten-down man waiting in the belly of a giant fish. We’re just a pregnant, unwed teenager, confused and scared.
But I’d rather walk through that path with walls of ocean in the periphery. I’d rather make it to dry ground, delivering the message God had asked I take. I’d rather know my Savior and grab hold of the courage He can give…
…help me, Father. Help me with my unbelief….
Now it’s your turn! What did you learn about faith this week? Leave a comment, or link your post below. Grab the ‘Journeys’ button from the sidebar so others can join the conversation. Thank you for your participation!
12 thoughts on “The Second Half of the Story”
Very powerful message. We’ve all been in the same boat; believing but needing help in our unbelief. There have been so many times i had no doubt God was present. Recalling those moments helps in my struggling times. He shows His strength and power in my weakness. And i cling to His promise that never will He leave me or forsake me.
Great post Jen! I have always loved that scripture verse and have prayed it often as I've wrestled doubts. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for sharing my post yesterday. I was struggling with insecurity over it so I chickened out putting it on my fb page. I so appreciated your encouragement and belief that it was something worth sharing!
Thank you, Teri! I so appreciate your participating with me on Fridays. And your writing IS worth sharing–your post this week was wonderful! I hope you can link up this Friday, too! 🙂
What a great post. I too, am sometimes amazed by my ability to completely believe and yet, somehow, struggle with my disbelief in the same moment. Crying out for help seems foreign to me, but is just what I need. Even Gideon struggled with his unbelief through the testing with the fleece, which helps me to believe that when I struggle, God will still be faithful to what he promised.
Good point about Gideon and the fleece–God wants us to believe and will help us get to that point of belief. Thanks for your comment!
This is a very convicting post, Jennifer — thank you for blessing me with your words and faith today.
I'm sorry I didn't link up this week — my computer was in the shop recovering from a virus, so I didn't have any Internet access (except when I was at work). It was a good respite, actually!
Thank you, Michelle, for your sweet comment.I had read your blog, so I knew your computer was out of commission. No need to apologize! I have appreciated your posts very much in the past, and if you can link up this week, that will be wonderful, but don't ever feel any pressure. 🙂
Great post Jennifer. Wouldn't you know that I was talking to Mom this morning before I erver read this blog and was saying to her that I'm not afraid of dyhing but want to be sure God will accept me in heaven. … even though I know His Son, my Savior died for me. 'But even though I know it, sometimes that little bug (maybe Satan) gets in my ear and my heart) and says, "Why would he save me, why give me salvation because I am sure through life I have disappointed Him many, many times. Thank God for the faith I have that is so much stronger than the little doubt that I sometime pokes me. I do know this, WITHOUT FAITH THERE IS NO HOPE!
But having the faith that my salvation is secure, a gift from God I don't deserve, I know it's a free gift and someday I'm going to collect it.. Thanks for your thought provoking post.
Thank you on your help!
Thank you on your help!
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