Bold Faith (a journal entry)
“‘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!’” Mark 9:22b-24
As I read these verses, I could almost hear the father’s hesitant faith – knowing that Jesus had indeed healed people, but almost not daring to believe that He would be able to do the same for his son; thinking that he was somehow an exception. Not to mention that this man had already brought his son to the disciples expecting help, and, after they could do nothing for him, he would have been tempted to think that his son was a hopeless case, and that perhaps the demon which was afflicting him was an exception to Jesus’ healing power.
And I could almost see Jesus’ patient smile, framed with a touch of sadness, and giving just a hint of a laugh of sarcasm in His reply….and the father’s cry of desperation, mixed with every ounce of faith and hope he could yet muster.
I realized…how often is this me? I so clearly see myself portrayed in these verses. I come to Jesus, not really daring to expect too much, but only having just enough faith to bring me to ask Him what is on my heart. I often sub-consciously word my requests as this man does; without realizing it, trying to make things “easier” for God to do, and showing that, somewhere in my heart, I actually believe that God is stingy and doesn’t care about the thing that concern me as much as I do. And sometimes I find myself in the place of this man, in that I have already come to the Lord and asked Him for something, and my request seems to have gone un-answered, and I may begin to wonder if maybe it was too big or hard for God…so then I hesitate to bring another before Him (or the same one again), expecting just similar results.
But as I step back and take a look at these things from God’s perspective, it suddenly becomes more clear.
He is full of love and compassion towards us, and He desires our good, and does not lack any resource or power that we could ever need, and yet we come to Him not even daring to ask one small thing because we view Him as being a stingy, cold, monarch. And how must our view of Him make Him feel? And then, there are the times when I doubt that He will answer me because…well…I’m just one little person, and why should He answer my requests? I will ask small things of Him, making sure that He knows He doesn’t have to answer me, and being prepared for Him not to – making excuses for Him if things don’t happen like I thought they might.
But…He is my Father. He knows my needs and cares more about them more than I do. He knows each person I care about and am praying for, and He cares about them more than I do…He is love. And a Father just loves it when His children jump into His lap and have complete confidence in His love and good-will toward them.
He desires us to ask more and believe more of Him; to believe that He is good, and loves us. He doesn’t want us to come to Him cringing, with a feeble little faith, but boldly, with an unwavering faith, and eyes raised full of expectancy toward heaven. Just knowing His character so well that we trust Him…implicitly. And then we shall see whether He will not pour down upon us all we have asked, yes, and even more than what our lips have spoken. And why should He answer us? Not because He has to, that is true enough…but because He wants to. In fact, He desires only that He could bless us more and more…if only we would just trust that He is good, and have our faith firmly planted in Him. For, He cannot bless doubting, just like an earthly father cannot bless their child because of their whining…though he would love to give them all that they desire. It’s as I was reading and meditating on Mark 6:5-6, where it says,
“And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.”
And as I was thinking about those verses, I thought about the fact that Jesus could have performed miracles in that town for the purpose of causing the people to believe Him and have faith…but instead He seems to desire that the faith would come first, and then the “seeing”…and He loves to bless that faith which so believes His power and goodness even before seeing any answers, but He cannot bless our unbelief with real answers, as He so longs to.
God does understand when we are tempted to doubt – it is an ailment that seems to be common to our nature – but He does not want us to stay there, and if we cry out to Him, He can (and will) fill us with the faith we don’t have in ourselves.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews t11:6