I Do Believe—Help Me Overcome my Unbelief

GodReflection: I Believe.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9: 20

I do not remember when I first heard the story of the helpless father with a sick son from Mark chapter nine. Nothing worked for him. Nobody was able to solve his problem. His little boy lived on the slick slope between life and death. Removed by twenty centuries, it sounds to me like the boy has severe epilepsy. So acute it caused him to fall into water deep enough that he almost drowned; he even fell into the fire used by the family for warmth and for meal preparation.

Among the four authors of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, I find it of interest that while Matthew, Mark, and Luke, highlight this belief story, only John does not include the occasion in his gospel.

I wonder why the apostle John omits this story as he weaves his own testimony of belief throughout each page of his twenty-one-chapter gospel narrative. After all, it is the Gospel of John that is known as the Gospel of Belief. I would think this belief story might support his purpose.

But then as he closes his account of Jesus’s life, I conclude it wasn’t that he failed to see the importance of the story about the belief tension of this father with the plight of his little epileptic boy. More likely, it was due to the abundance of belief stories available to him that he wrote, Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25). 

John lived like the rest of us with the tension of “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” He too shares his own trail of doubts as he struggles to comprehend Jesus ultimate objective to clean the Satanic stain from creation and to restore us all to eternal companionship with The Holy.

Allow me to be reflective. I suspect you also have experienced such occasions across your own journey through life. Belief is not particularly difficult when all seems well, and we can even envision a good outcome around the next corner.

But what of those times when we envision future good that lies beyond our own ability to accomplish? Let me be clear. These are not always times of self-interest but also those occasions when we see an end good in sight that can bless others if only God will act. These are the times when we must declare, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” The synonym is faith.

These are the dark valleys we all encounter with high walls and no foreseen exits. As some point, if we are to survive, we must create within our spirit the courage to look to The Holy—ready to step into the unknown—and pray, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 

Let we wrap up this post with a quick story. This time the other three Gospel-authors omit an occasion that only the apostle John relates. Remember the time when Jesus healed the man who was blind from birth as told in John chapter nine? After the man is healed, has been harassed by the religious regulators, labeled as an outsider, and a total reject, Jesus goes to find him.

They meet and Jesus’s askes the former blindman, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  The guy who now sees with his eyes wants to see with his heart. “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

Then we read the final exchange between the newly healed and the Son of God, Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

The former blindman joins the father of the little boy with epilepsy; and with countless others who have answered Jesus’s embrace; and with me, and with you; as together we move closer to Jesus on this journey of belief. I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on I Do Believe Help Me Overcome My Unbelief.




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