August 5, 2018
READ: Mark 9:14-29
I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief! (v.24).
My faith was once rattled by a telephone pole. I noticed its rough timber and shuddered, recalling that Jesus was nailed to a cross of wood. Suddenly I wondered, What if He wasn’t? How do I know the Bible is true? A wave of nausea washed over me until I snapped out of it, reminding myself of the many reasons I believe in Jesus.
Yet I was shaken. Like the father who begged Jesus to heal his son (Mark 9:24), I believe—I really do—yet I live on the edge of doubt.
This father’s struggle with faith reminds me of three truths:
Doubt is normal. The larger the question, the more likely we’ll struggle with doubt. Few things were more important to this dad than the healing of his son. His hopes had been dashed moments before when Jesus’ disciples failed (v.18). Could Jesus do any better? He hoped so, but he had his doubts. His problem was too large not to wonder, at least a little. Likewise, nothing matters more than God, so don’t be surprised by doubts about Him. They’re your attempt to make sure your foundation for life is solid.
Distress is a sign of faith. I hate the anxiety that accompanies doubt, but the fact that our doubts bother us means that deep down we really do believe. Doubts only trouble those who also have faith.
Doubt does not weaken Jesus. What we believe matters more than how firmly we believe it. Jesus said faith as small as a mustard seed is enough, as long as it’s placed in Him (Matthew 17:20). Faith is like wasabi: a little bit goes a long way! The father had doubts, “Help us, if you can.” But he brought his doubt to the right place. “What do you mean, ‘If I can?’ ” Jesus asked (Mark 9:22-23). Then He showed what a little faith in Him can do.
365-day plan: Luke 12:1-21
Read 2 Timothy 1:5-14 and reflect on practices we can do to strengthen our faith.
What are your largest doubts? How might they be normal, a sign of faith and a reminder to run to Jesus?