I Believe, Help My Unbelief
June 10, 2021
And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:21-24).
“Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief;
Be this my prayer though good report and ill;
Only to Thee I cling; if long my day or brief,
Master and Savior, I will trust Thee still!”
These lyrics to an old hymn were penned by Daniel H. Howard (1814-1884). They express the truth that every Christian should realize in their own life - we have faith enough to believe and trust in Jesus for the salvation of our soul, but our faith must increase in Jesus for the salvation of our life.
In the case of this poor father, as in all instances when we come to the Lord with a pressing need, a man’s belief is of greater significance than his unbelief, otherwise we would not come to Him. It is only by one’s possession of faith that he/she is able to gain the victory over unbelief, doubt, reservation, etc. The first of the two clauses - I believe - rather than the second clause - help my unbelief - is most significant here. It is to the moral, intellectual, and spiritual credit of the man that he was able to make his way to Jesus and persevere despite the inability of the disciples to help him.
But we cannot overlook the appeal of the man to Jesus, help my unbelief. Faith starts off like a grain of mustard seed but has the potential to grow into a tree that is beneficial to others (Matthew 13:31-32). It is tragic for a Christian to possess a faith that remains under-developed like the ‘seed’ of the mustard. It should be the desire of every follower of Jesus to develop a faith that is full grown. That was the plea of this father - help my unbelief.
One of the heartbreaking characteristics of this present age is the blending of ‘sincere’ faith and ‘honest’ doubt. It’s a mystery to me. To the Christian who loves God’s truth and believes in its ultimate victory, a growing faith should be the order of the day. Christian faith is never in danger of failure when, like the father of this poor demon possessed boy, we persevere through trials and situations beyond our control to come before the Lord for His help. We often find ourselves walking through the valley of the shadows, but we are not to stay there - we are to walk on until we come to Him who is our Light and Life.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for this man’s faith and the honesty he had to realize his lack of faith. May we be so honest with ourselves and with You that we will persist in developing our faith through obedience to You and Your Word. To Your glory and honor I ask, Amen.”