“I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Mark 9:14-29 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16 And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19 And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” 20 They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 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!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
“I do believe; help my unbelief.” This is the response of the father when Jesus said: “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” This reinforces the importance of our faith in healing. I don’t say that to bring judgment or condemnation to anyone who has not received a healing but rather as something we need to know. Jesus says: “I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (Mark 11:24) In Matthew 13 we are told that the people of Jesus hometown did not believe in Him. Verse 58 says: He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. So obviously there is a correlation between our faith and our ability to appropriate the healing that Christ has for us. Often when Jesus did heal someone He would say it was according to their faith, as they believed. Again this is not to bring judgment but rather in a hope that we can gain some additional clarity concerning our faith and its relationship to healing.
Surely God is sovereign and His ways are higher than our ways. We don’t always know or understand everything that happens as we see it and know here, from our earthly perspective. In 1 Corinthians 3:9,10;12 Paul says: For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away… For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. There are some things we may not have full understanding of until we are face to face with the Lord. Then many of the things we don’t understand probably will matter less as we know fully the perspective from heaven.
Returning though to the role of our faith in healing or appropriating the blessings and promises of God in and for our lives, it is important for us to recognize that basically there are two things which hinder our faith. Either we don’t believe who God and Jesus are and so we doubt that they are able to do what we need or we don’t believe they will do it for us. We believe that for some reason we are not worthy of God’s blessing. As far as if God is able we need only to look at what He has done. We need to read the Bible. We need to become fully aware of His great works. From creation to miraculous healings, from provision to protection from and victory over enemies, the Bible is filled with testimonies of God’s ability to do all things. He is omnipotent, all powerful. He is omniscient, all knowing and He is omnipresent, everywhere. There is nothing that we might face that is too difficult for God. In Numbers 11:23 God says: "Is the LORD's arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you." Isaiah 59:1 echoes that saying: Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. God is indeed able to do anything we need. Even more, all that we need has already been accomplished. On the cross Jesus said: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) It was not His life that Jesus said was over. It was all that He came to accomplish. The finished work of the cross is complete redemption, forgiveness for sin. It is reconciliation, giving us full access to and fellowship with God. The finished work of the cross is also restoration of all that has been impacted by the curse of sin. Isaiah 53:5 says: He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Our healing, like our redemption is already complete, it is finished in the cross of Christ.
All that is left then concerning our faith is whether we believe that what God can do, He will and wants to do for us. Just as reading the Bible and the accounts of what He has done increases our faith and assures us that He can do all things, in order to know God’s heart toward us, how He feels about us, we need to know Him. We need to know Him not with a knowledge that we can obtain by reading about Him or by hearing about Him. In order to know God we must know Him intimately. The finished work of the cross provided that we are reconciled to God, that we can have full fellowship and communion with Him. Romans 8:15-17 says: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. As God’s children and His heirs, we possess everything that God has and has promised. He sees us as His beloved, we need to see ourselves, not through the eyes of this world, but as He sees us. God can! God wants to and will do everything we need. He gives/gave us all His blessings and promises in Christ.
If your faith waivers, if you are not certain that God can; read His word, gather with people of faith and hear testimonies, testimonies not only of what God has done, but also what He is doing. The God who created the heavens and the earth is the same God who is working in every situation in your life today. If you are uncertain whether God wants to or will, go to Him. Sit with Him. He is “Abba Father,” your daddy and you are His beloved child. He loves You so much that He gave you Jesus, that through the finished work of the cross you could have all the blessings and promises of heaven, now and forever. If your faith waivers don’t doubt, humbly like the father in today’s text pray: “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Today’s text ends with Jesus saying: “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit sometimes the things I face seem too big for me, surely though they are not too big for You. Thank You for the finished work of the cross through which You have given me everything I need. When my faith waivers, whatever the reason, hear my humble prayer: “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Amen.