Thursday, June 8, 2017

Overcoming Unbelief

UV 2292/10000 Overcoming Unbelief
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief
Mark 9 v 24
The child that was possessed from infancy by a spirit that caused convulsions as well as deafness and muteness. The father had first asked the disciples of Jesus to cast out the spirit. But they could not though they tried. Then the father brought the child in sheer desperation and hope of healing and deliverance to Jesus, having heard the evidence of so many being healed by Him. Jesus was apparently disappointed by the lack of faith of the contemporary generation. He goes on to tell the desperate father that “ Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father responded by saying, “ I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Jesus cast out the spirit and delivered the boy. He told the disciples that such kind of deaf and mute spirit can be cast out only by prayer. Yet, Jesus had used his authority to address the spirit and command it to leave the boy and it obeyed Him instantly. The incident shows that both the father and the disciples approached the problem with a mix of belief and unbelief as do all of us. The word “belief” literally means “ to consider oneself a part of the kingdom (of God)” with all the attendant power, authority and love of God flowing through the one who believes and unbelief means, “Not to consider oneself part of the kingdom of God” and shorn of the power, authority and attributes of God. Their unbelief that healing is not possible in this case got the better of their belief that healing is possible. This struggle of belief versus unbelief is going on all the time in our hearts, minds and lives. At such times, we need to consciously and persistently throw the weight of our thoughts, words, emotions, desires, decisions and actions on the side of belief or the kingdom of God.

Very often in our lives, too we are like the helpless father and the disappointed disciples. We encounter failure in doing that which we hope we can do by faith. Part of us believes and part of us disbelieves the promises and power of the Lord. Like the father, we need the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to overcome our lack of faith and to strengthen our existing level of faith. Some of our prayers for healing or deliverance are answered instantly and some are seemingly still not answered. At times when our hopes are not fulfilled, we need to examine our belief as well as our unbelief. We need to persist in prayer and the Lord will either answer our cry or give us the strength to bear it. As Paul himself cried out to the Lord to remove a thorn in the flesh that he suffered from- a particular affliction, but the Lord did not remove it but gave him the grace to accept the will of God and bear it graciously.

Sometimes, we suffer mishaps we never imagined would happen to us. We wonder at that time, “ Why did the Lord who is all knowing allow it to happen.” Our unbelief kicks in and raises doubts and questions about the love, grace and power of the Lord. We may not get an adequate explanation as we go through the pain and suffering. But after things have settled, we would be able to discern that even in the valley, the Lord is with us and that He is faithful to His word, His promise, His covenant relationship with us.

Prateep V Philip

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