STRUGGLING TO BELIEVE Andy Hollifield 8-10-17
Mark 9:23-24 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
DOUBT——–(1) to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe (to distrust). (3) to be apprehensive about (4) a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something
Pastor Terry Sprouse at State Street Baptist Church in Asheville, NC preached a wonderful message about basically, overcoming doubt. I say it was wonderful but actually it wasn’t at all in the sense that it found me guilty. He made a statement that often we will go to the altar to pray and ask God to do something in a particular situation or to deal with someone’s heart and we will begin to have doubts before we ever leave the altar or at least before we get out the door. Like I have already mentioned, I have been exposed and stand guilty.
I guess that may be why that the scripture listed above is among my favorites in the bible. Along with Lamentations 3, the books of Ruth, Nehemiah, Joshua, and Esther and the stories of Samuel, David, Joseph, and also Jacob and Esau, and also the search for Rebekah. I guess when you get right down to it, I like them all because it is the word of God. There are certain scriptures however that I can relate to especially well in a personal way. This story in Mark is one of them. A lot of times folks think that a preacher is always on top and never gets down or struggles with unbelief. Like we are some kind of super-spiritual being or something. Let me assure you, that is definitely not the case. As a matter of fact, we may get down even more than a lot of other folks. I can’t tell you the times that I have wanted to lay my bible down and never go back to church again. The one thing that keeps me from it is the fear of the Lord and the love I have for him. Jeremiah 20:9 “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” There is just something about the word of God that you just can’t walk away from, without the convicting power of the Holy Ghost, if you have ever been born again.
I see in this scripture the desperation and hopelessness of the father. He has tried everything to the point that he has tried so much that he is having trouble believing. Have you ever found yourself in that position? When you want with everything in you to just believe and trust God. I am learning more as I get older that there are no super-spiritual christians. I know there are those that seem to never have a problem or care, but when you get them alone, you will find that they are in the same boat as the rest of us. We all have to struggle with doubt and unbelief and battle against the flesh.
This father had done everything he could possibly could and still could not help his son. I know that I have written some on this before, but the way I see it, this is right where most of us live our lives. Always trying to believe without a doubt, but always seeing a setback that knocks you right out of the center of Gods will. We don’t mean for it to happen but I suppose that as long as we live in the flesh we will have to battle doubt. The word “doubt” is listed 13 times in the bible. Amazingly enough, 13 is the number of rebellion in the bible. When we doubt the Lord, it is simply rebellion against the power of God. The father in this scripture had no doubt dealt with this situation for a long time and believe me, it can get frustrating to see things in your child’s life that need fixing and you can’t do anything about it.
When the father admitted his unbelief, Jesus went to work. He had already asked Jesus if he could do anything, have compassion on us. Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. That statement in verse 22 shows the hopeless condition this man was in. He had already brought him to the disciples but they could do nothing. So now, here he stood with one more opportunity to get help for his son and even though he believed, he was struggling. He had most likely seen Jesus do other miracles but was just so beat down by his circumstances that he struggled to believe even though he was trying to. Have you ever had a situation that you prayed earnestly about, maybe even with fasting, and you couldn’t see any change or even glimmers of hope? I have and I believe that was where this man was. I have got a situation now that I am desiring to see God work in and just waiting anxiously for something to give so to speak. I am desperately seeking his help in this and the more time that passes without any signs of progress, the harder it is to keep believing. I have seen him do greater works and he has done true miracles in my life and I draw strength from what he has already done but I still have to fight off that little hint of doubt that says, “God, are you ever going to move?”
I hope you haven’t read this far looking for an absolute set in stone answer about overcoming doubt because I don’t have one. All I know to do is just keep praying and trying hard to keep believing. I am asking the Lord to “help mine unbelief” and also to increase my faith. I have heard all my life about giving your object to the Lord and laying it on the altar and leaving it there. I personally believe that doesn’t mean to just forget about it. I believe it means to watch for it to happen. When it does; oh what joy when God answers prayer and lifts a burden. To see the thing you have prayed for so long come to pass will be exhilarating. I believe you can’t dwell on the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, but rather on what it is going to be like when it does. That helps you believe.
I hope this will help someone who is “Struggling To Believe”. Don’t give up! Your answer may be around the next bend. Your celebration might just be fixing to begin. Keep believing! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!