“And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.””
Mark 9:21-24 NASB
Believe. Such a great word. I have seen it in wood carvings and in posters. Many people go through life believing things, ideas, and concepts that determine their lives. For some the word is superficial and implies a head knowledge of a given subject in such a way as they can take or leave it. It is said in the bible that the demons believe. Their belief is mere knowledge of the divine, and not faith.
True believers are people who take that head knowledge and make the heart connection. It is belief followed by action. I remember years ago reading the story of Charles Blondin, a tight rope walker who wowed crowds as he walked across the Niagara Falls. He was spectacular.
“The Blondin story is told that it was after pushing a wheelbarrow across while blindfolded that Blondin asked for some audience participation. The crowds had watched and “Ooooohed” and “Aaaaahed!” He had proven that he could do it; of that, there was no doubt. But now he was asking for a volunteer to get into the wheelbarrow and take a ride across the Falls with him!
It is said that he asked his audience, “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?” Of course the crowd shouted that yes, they believed!
It was then that Blondin posed the question – “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?’
Of course…none did.”
In that story we see the difference between head belief and heart belief. It is one thing to believe, but another to put it into action.
There came a day when I was faced with that reality. I had believed for much of my life. I like so many believed that Jesus was real, that God was real. I had not surrendered my life to that knowledge, I had not taken action. I had not gotten into the wheelbarrow.
There came a time when my life began to erode and all things appeared to be falling apart. All the bible stories began to come back to me, and I began to consider returning to church. From my reprobate state, it all seemed like an impossibility. I had fallen so far and so much time had gone by. Our great God is an initiator. We like to think that we are seeking God, but He is pursuing us. He began to sprinkle holy bread crumbs into my life to lead me back to Him.
When I surrendered, I felt an immediate difference as my head belief became a heart connection. From the get go, I had spiritual crises that forced me to actually believe in a biblical sense. Mere head knowledge was not going to deliver me. God brought trial after trial into my life, each a little more dire than the last. It was like climbing a ladder of faith. He helped my unbelief with each trial, or rung that I climbed. As the situations worsened, He showed His faithfulness. He delivered me through many storms.
I can imagine the man in the passage above. He brings his beloved son, so beleaguered by demonic oppression, to the Son of God for deliverance. In that moment, the father was in a battle between his belief and his unbelief. I can understand what he was experiencing. I have often found myself praying with a hint of doubt. What has helped is hearing of the answered prayers. In this, God helps my unbelief.
Jesus delivered the man’s son and healed not only his body, but also the unbelief of the father and His disciples.
So many things are happening that are shaking the faith of the devoted believers of Jesus Christ. Our world is in turmoil and the normal that we love is fading away. There are so many things happening in the world that we are not hearing about. All these are hidden under the coverage of the world wide pandemic and all the racial strife. I have been blessed to look past these twin distractions. I can tell you that our redemption draweth nigh.
Today is the day to climb into the wheelbarrow! To go out and live as though your belief is the kind that you can rely on. I sit as one dependent on God.
If you like to google, check out what is happening between Israel and Iran. Quite exciting! At least to me, anyway…
I think I hear an angel with a shofar off in the distance.