And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24
I often use this uniquely plaintive and poetic cry, "help Thou mine unbelief," as a kind of prayer--beseeching God's help when my faith wavers.
I've written about my struggle with doubt. But there's a difference between sincere questioning and wearing doubt as a badge of honor.
Belief and faith didn't come easily for me--especially after surviving a spiritually abusive church. It was important for me to go through multiple stages of doubt and questioning.
But being doubtful was not a place I wanted to stay permanently. My struggle with doubt was akin to a platform at a train station--a place of temporary waiting until my train of faith arrived.
And when that train came in: I had a choice. I could board that train or I could stay on the platform.
I chose to board the train. In other words, God gave me a measure of faith and I decided not to ignore or neglect that gift.
It's one thing to stay on the platform while you are sincerely searching for answers. But isn't making a life-long career out of searching kinda like saying that objective truth does not exist?
At some point, faith isn't just about asking questions. It's also about obedience.
Ah, obedience. What a dirty word and how despised it has become!
It's all very hip and modern to talk about doubt, to ask questions, to go through spiritual crises. But who wants to extol obedience?
And yet, obedience is the cornerstone upon which our entire faith is built. Were it not for Jesus' obedience to the Cross, where would our faith be? Throughout Scripture, it is obedience--not doubt--that is exalted and praised.
I, too, have often looked askance at obedience. When you witness the abuse of authority, it makes you wary of submitting yourself again.
It's easy to tell myself that my faith isn't strong because I've been hurt, I've seen hypocrisy or have legitimate questions that have gone unanswered.
But many times my faith is weak because I've been disobedient. I've discovered that disobedience breeds confusion, doubt and fear. I can save myself a lot of heartache (not to mention wasted time!) if I discipline myself to examine how I've been living and to ask myself if there are ways in which I've been disobedient to something God wants me to do.
Sometimes God doesn't provide answers until after I've started living obediently.
Of course, true obedience springs from love. And now that I am convinced of His unfailing love for me, I want to obey Him.
To disobey now would be to slight His love.
And that would be intentional unbelief, undoubtedly.
Lord, help Thou mine unbelief!