Help My Unbelief!

brown and green leafed plants

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:21-24 (ESV)

As I read these verses, I had so much respect for the father who was able to acknowledge his spiritual weakness and ask for Jesus’ help to change his heart to one who believes in spite of the circumstances.

I imagine that this father lost hope. His son had dealt with an unclean spirit since he was a child and the disciples had just failed at an attempt to cast out the spirit. This was personal, it was something that was likely hard for him to see his son go through and not be able to do anything about it. Yet in this vulnerable moment, he asks for Jesus’ help not only for his son but for his personal spiritual journey.

I began to wonder how many of us have also lost hope. Maybe you came into 2018, believing Jesus for something miraculous; yet it is now the middle of October and you’ve lost hope that it will indeed come to pass.

I believe Jesus knows our heart’s desires and knows that we are human and get weary in our waiting but I want to encourage you to be vulnerable and ask Him to help you in your unbelief. To help you in the moments where you struggle to believe that He can do what He has promised.  I believe He will honor that moment and provide the hope needed to keep standing and believing on what He says is true.

Father, thank you that you can meet us where we are. Thank you for understanding how our doubts can get in the way but Father help us to be an overcomer from doubt and seek you to help us through those moments so that we will continue to stand on your promises; regardless of the circumstance. Amen

When Your Doubts Become Your God

StormWhen studying Peter, I couldn’t help but revisit the story of Jesus walking on water. Matthew 14 begins with the death of John the Baptist. After this happened, Jesus needed a moment to himself but was not really given that opportunity because crowds of people followed Him. Once he saw the crowds, He had compassion and begin healing the people and this where we see the story of Him feeding about 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish.After this happened, Jesus insisted His disciples go ahead of Him on the boat as He went up the hill to be alone and pray.

The disciples encountered some strong winds, but Jesus showed up in the middle of it; however they didn’t recognize Him. He was walking on water towards them but instead of embracing Him with gladness to help them, Peter decided to test Jesus to make sure it was really Him.

Then Peter called to Him:

“Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”-Matthew 14:28-30 (NLT)

I had to read different variations of this story and I really enjoyed the Message translation because it said: “Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.      -Matthew 14:29-30 (MSG).

Peter looked down at the waves…..

As I read it, I visually saw this in action and I immediately recognized how relatable this story is today. Often times, we get discouraged once we look down  at our circumstances. We see what we have available in that moment and in our hands and then we begin to sink. All of the looking around makes us take focus off of Jesus who is right in front of us.

He’s available with open arms waiting on us to come but because our focus was taken off of Him, we sink.We sink back into the same cycle because we allowed our doubts to become our God.

I think this is why Peter became afraid and started to sink. He started off confidently walking on water and looking ahead to Jesus but then he remembered his current circumstances so he looked down and begin to doubt.

But Jesus is asking “Why do you doubt me?”

I believe we doubt because we are just looking at the natural and not looking through our spiritual lens.

I wonder what life would be like if more people regained focus on the things that mattered. If we shifted how we think of the storms in our lives and if we stopped giving so much attention to our current circumstances (which can cause doubt).

I know I have been Peter in many moments in my life where I have put too much focus on my circumstances which took focus off of Jesus. When you give your doubts too much space, you allow frustrations and worry to creep into your thoughts. So it’s time to stop looking down at our circumstances and start staying focused on Jesus and what the Word says.