The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NLT)
Of all the people I’ve met in my journey through the scriptures, I sometimes think that I most identify with the man who uttered these words in today’s chapter. This is a person in process. This is a guy struggling on a faith journey of his own. Like a child playing “Mother, May I?” the man is beckoned to take one giant faith-step forward, only to seek Jesus’ permission to do so.
“Jesus, can you?!”
Shackled by years of enduring his son’s torturous suffering, every possible opportunity to finding a cure or relief had ended in abyssmal failure. Every hope he had of finding a cure for his boy had proven to have been a false hope. The man’s soul had scabbed over with layer upon layer of doubt, grief, anger, sorrow and eventually despair. It is no wonder that the man struggled. His step of faith left him straddling a precipice of contradiction. One foot crossed over and stood in faith that Jesus could accomplish what no one else had been able to do, the other foot remained mired in the experienced reality of dashed hopes, broken promises and unrealized expectations.
I picture the man straddling the void and I think to myself: “that’s me.” How often have I desired to step out in faith only to be held back by the layers of doubt, fear, and failure that have built up on my own soul?
Today, I am once again uttering this man’s humble prayer. I believe, but Jesus will you please help me with my unbelief?
“I’m hanging in the balance of the reality of man,
Like every sparrow fallen, like every grain of sand.”
– Bob Dylan