Mark 9:24 “I believe; help my unbelief!”
By: Bruce Wesley, Senior Pastor, Clear Creek Community Church, HCPN Board Member
May 20, 2018
We quote the father of this tormented child often. We quote him, not because we are keenly aware of the plight with his son, but because we know what it means to believe and struggle with unbelief at the same time.
Maybe I believe Jesus saves hardened sinners, and I still struggle to believe deeply that he will turn the flint-like heart of my friend. Maybe I believe God heals relationships and reconciles the estranged. And, at the same time, I might struggle with fear that the conflict in my church will outlast the Hatfields and McCoys.
In this passage, the father loved his son and he wanted him to be healed. The text says that a spirit made him mute and caused seizures. The boy had suffered most of his life. In response, the father’s love held on to hope that his son could be well again. And, at the same time, he struggled to believe deeply in the face of years of suffering and failed attempts at recovery.
Jesus hears the doubts amidst his faith, and Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes.” The father’s response is where we connect with him. Like him, we believe and we need help with our unbelief. The good news is that Jesus honors those who believe in him in the face of reasons for unbelief.
When it comes to revival and renewal, I sound like this father, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I really do believe that God moves to renew and restore his church. I believe that the Spirit “falls upon” people in inexplicable ways for fruitful evangelism and to bring the kingdom of God in the “already” that many will only see in the “not yet.” I believe that a genuine movement of multiplying disciples and churches can happen in our lifetime. I believe God might work in a city in our day like he did in Nineveh when it was so close to destruction, and God saved the city (and cattle, which seems an odd addition) faster than Jonah thought possible.
And, at the same time, I need God’s help with my unbelief. It’s taken so long. We’ve seen so much “unvival” instead of revival. We’ve seen so much competition in churches, lethargy in followers, prejudice and division. It’s hard to believe in the face of reasons for unbelief. So, join me in praying, “Lord, help our unbelief!”
Maybe God is looking for a community who will believe what Jesus said, “All things are possible with God.” Maybe we have to believe that revival and renewal is possible before he brings it. Don’t misunderstand me. He’s sovereign in revival, and we can’t will it done. But, no doubt, he calls us to believe.
So, as we conclude 50 days of prayer together, let’s ask God to help us believe that he will actually do what we’ve been asking him to do. Take a moment and imagine with me what our city will look like when revival comes. Today, let’s believe.
Father in Heaven, you raised Jesus from the dead. And while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, you saved us by making us alive in him. We ask that you grant a spiritual revival for our city that will resurrect those who are dead without you and revive your churches to bear fruit. Renew us so that we bring you glory in the beauty of holiness. Please raise up godly men and women to see churches multiplied to the ends of the earth. As we ask these things, we declare to you that we believe, and we struggle to believe deeply. Would you, now, help our unbelief? Please turn our unbelief into anticipation.