In the New Testament book of Mark, Jesus has an encounter with the father of a boy suffering madness and fits. The man asks Jesus to heal his son “if you can”.
Jesus assures him that everything is possible for one who believes. The desperate father replies, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
This man wanted to believe with every fiber of his being, but everything he knew of the world up to that point told him that this was not possible. Christians today are faced with this same difficulty.
The “leap of faith” so often referred to is the conscious decision to believe, no matter what the world and even your own limited senses tell you.
The notion that belief makes the impossible possible is not the same thing as the “power of positive thinking” or creating one’s own reality. It is letting go of one’s doubts and trusting God to take care of anything and everything.
It is not the strength of anyone’s faith or the length and number of our prayers that cajole God into doing our will. It is recognizing our own weakness and God’s power and accepting his perfect will in our lives.
I made the conscious decision, intellectually and emotionally, to believe in God and the Bible as his word for me. I did this because I realized that life without God held no meaning. Because I refuse to accept the proposition that everyone’s personal consciousness and all of this incredibly orderly creation is a random accident, existing for a flickering moment with no purpose, only to eventually be extinguished as if it never existed.
The longer I live, the stronger that commitment grows. And yet, this passage from Mark continues to resonate and to encourage me.
I am a skeptic by nature. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. My life must be worth a great deal, then, because I am constantly examining my motives and testing my perceptions. So, especially in today’s climate, I have doubts.
Am I deluding myself? Is my faith a sign of a weak mind or lack of courage? A crutch the strong don’t need?
When doubts like these come my way, I examine them, and their source, and always come to the conclusion, with Pascal, that if I am betting on the wrong side, I still have nothing to lose and if I am right I have everything to gain.
I do believe; thank you, Lord, that you help me overcome my unbelief.