I had to call a friend a few days ago. This particular friend is one I call when I need to hear the truth. You know the type. She doesn’t tell me what I want to hear; she tells me what I need to hear. Perhaps you have a friend like this and can relate. I am very thankful for our friendship. It is one that could be summed up by Proverbs 27:5-6, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” I wanted to have a pity party. She told me to get my eyes off self. I wanted to whine. She told me to rejoice. I wanted to focus on the negative. She told me to look at the positive. I wanted to sit. She told me to get up and serve. We’ve had this conversation many times over the years. Sometimes, like last week, I’m the one who needs the exhortation and sometimes she is. Either way we have an understanding. Regardless of our feelings or emotions, the best thing we can do is point each other to the Lord and His Word.
The circumstances are always different, but the outcome is always the same. It usually goes something like this. One of us has a problem or small trial in our life. This should be no surprise. Jesus said in this world we would have tribulations (John 16:33). But we still act “as though some strange thing happened…” During the trial we prove that we’re human by worrying and fretting. After a day or two of self pity one of us will finally get around to calling the other – already knowing exactly what we’re going to hear.
“Why are you worried?”
“It’s just that I don’t see how this could possibly work out.”
“So, this just gives God a chance to prove Himself strong.”
“I know….but there is no human solution.”
“Hasn’t God always provided for you?”
“Hasn’t He always been faithful?”
“Yes, but this time….”
“Has He ever let you down?”
“Then don’t you know what the Scriptures say?”
“I do. Just yesterday I was sharing God’s Word with a lady who was having trials of her own.”
“Then it boils down to whether or not you’re going to believe. The bottom line is this. Are you going to have confidence in the trustworthiness of God?”
And so, this was just what I needed to hear. I knew the truth. I still do. I have never had a reason to doubt God’s Word. It says that God will provide for His children (Matthew 6:33). We are told that He will meet all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). It says that He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). And we are promised peace if we will trust in God (Isaiah 26:3). Not only are these things so, but time and time again – without fail – God has proven it true.
I do believe…..
But Lord, help my unbelief…….
Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark Chapter 9. Do you know the story? This man had a demon possessed son. If you want to talk about trials and troubles, this man had them. Look at how the father describes his son with this evil spirit, “And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away… ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us,” Mark 9:18a, 22. The mother in me wants to weep for this man. I cannot image the pain from seeing his child like this. So in desperation, the father takes his son to Jesus’ disciples for help. Yet, they cannot help him.
How many times do I go to everyone but the One who can and will help me?
When Jesus arrives He offers perhaps the first glimpse of hope this poor father has ever had. He says, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth,” Mark 9:23.
How many times has the Lord whispered these same words to me? “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible unto you,” Matthew 17:20. “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” Luke 1:37. “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God,” Luke 18:27.
So this father, as honest and transparent as he can be, with tears in his eyes cries out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,” Mark 9:24.
I think I understand what he was saying because I have been there many times. In fact, I’m still there. I have faith. I believe. But I know that my faith is not as strong as it should be. My faith is weak. It is imperfect. It is flawed in its exercise. So, like this father who does believe, I too add a prayer for grace, mercy, and strength. Lord, Please help the weakness of my faith. Help me to confidently rely upon You. Show Yourself strong on my behalf and be glorified through my weak flesh and failures. I believe Lord, just help me in my unbelief.