20th February 2020

In the Mist of Doubt

“‘But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’”
Mark 9:22-23 (NIV)

There are a number of stories in Scripture where the emotions of the situation overflow from the pages of our Bible. Take, for example, the event in Mark 9 where a father seeks help for his son. I feel the father’s desperation as he begs for a solution to his son’s predicament. Jesus’ disciples were unable to help; the father’s deep disappointment has opened the door to doubt. We all have found ourselves in a moment of such discouragement; when our hopes for rescue – whether for ourselves or our friends and family – have been dashed.

The father expresses doubt in just a small way: “but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22). Sometimes Jesus’ reply can sound harsh, but it prompts a response deep from within the father’s despair: it is one of the most honest statements ever uttered. “I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

I believe, help me overcome my unbelief. I have found those words very helpful in times when the fog of events cause doubt. When I have prayed for God’s grace and mercy, but the words seem to bounce off the ceiling. I suspect we have all been there: when doubt creeps in, like sea mist sweeping inland. In such times, I make these words my short prayer; these honest words from a desperate father become my plea for today. This prayer cuts through the fog. These words lay bare my doubts and worries before God.

I believe, help me overcome my unbelief. These words are no magic formula. I don’t see my prayers suddenly answered. But something does change within. Even though I may feel weak, I continue to cling onto Jesus as my hope. In Christ, God is redeeming all things. Sometimes I see God’s answer today, while there are other answers that I still wait for. I may need to wait until Christ returns, but I know that one day all things will be redeemed.

Doubt is part of life; the ups and downs of our existence do bring uncertainty. Whether your doubt is large or small, you can always lay it at the feet of our Lord Jesus. No doubt is too big for our Lord to overcome; through the Holy Spirit he lives his life of faith within us. In Christ, the prayer for faith is always answered: Jesus will help us overcome our unbelief.

Father, we do believe. Help us in our unbelief. We look to you, through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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