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What's Holding You Back: Unbelief

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.
— Mark 9:22b-23 ESV

We’ve all been in this dad’s shoes, haven’t we? We experience a hopeless looking situation and we call out to God, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” We look at a bill that catches us off guard with its large numbers. We look at a loved one with a sickness or disease. We look at our nation’s politics and the division we see is overwhelmingly disheartening. Whatever the situation, the outcome is the same, “God if you can do something about this situation, I’d really appreciate it!”

This poor dad had witnessed so much. How heartbreaking would it have been to witness your own flesh and blood being overtaken by an uncontrollable and evil power? How heart-wrenching would it have been to witness this power throw his own child, his baby (because no matter how old your child is, they'll always be your baby), into a fire or into water, in order to kill him? I can’t even imagine the horror he would have felt. I can’t imagine the hopelessness and helplessness he felt. He needed a solution. He needed Jesus!

We find this poor dad standing in front of Jesus asking for any sort of miracle. He had no doubt heard of the miracles that Jesus had performed for other people, but would Jesus be willing to solve his baby boy’s problems? The disciples couldn’t cast out the unclean spirit, the disciples couldn’t take care of his problem. Would Jesus’ power be stronger than the power that resided in his son? I can’t even imagine what must have been going through his head. Jesus was his last hope. If anyone could do anything to help his kid, Jesus was the only one who walked the face of the world who would have the answer!

IF you can, IF you are able, IF you are willing. I love how Jesus focuses in on his “IF you can” statement and then He sheds a bit of light on the matter. “All things are impossible for the one who believes.” Jesus draws out this man’s faith by showing him the Truth. The man immediately responds, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 

Did you know that unbelief is defined as the absence of faith? “I believe but help the areas where I have an absence of faith!” You know that this place, this position of an absence of faith isn’t unheard of? In fact, all of the Bible’s “Greatest Heroes” had moments of doubt or unbelief. We aren’t any less human because we begin to wonder what is actually possible.

My favorite story on doubt and unbelief is of Abraham and Sarah. They were this really old couple (as in 90+) when God fulfilled the promise that He would give them a son from their very own bodies. You know how they responded? They laughed. (Genesis 17:17, 18:12) Part of me joins in their laughter, why? Because my two little blessings can be downright EXHAUSTING! I couldn’t imagine mothering them at 90 years old! I’m hoping (when I’m 90 years old) to be catching up on all the sleep I seem to be unable to get because of them and this season of our lives! I understand the logistics behind their laughter. But God was going to do the miraculous! Why? Because ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE for the one who believes!! 

As an extra reminder, Abraham and Sarah were told to give their son the name Issac. Isaac means “he laughs.” Every time they mention Isaac by name, they’d be reminded that God is the God of the Impossible. God might call us to do something impossible, but with him, all things are possible. In God’s vocabulary, impossible doesn’t exist. 

That dad needed God to help his unbelief. Abraham and Sarah needed God to help their unbelief. WE need God to help us with our unbelief. And you know what? God did help that dad's unbelief AND He healed his baby boy! God did help Abraham and Sarah with their unbelief AND He made good on His promise to provide a son! God will help us with our unbelief AND He will make good on His promises to us. Why? Because ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE for the one who believes!! AND He is faithful to keep His promises!

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
— Hebrews 10:23 ESV
Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
— Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT
For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The LORD always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.
— Psalm 145:13 NLT

Let's Discuss! Comment below (or on Facebook)!
God is faithful to keep His promises, what promises are you holding onto today?

What's Holding You Back: Reflection

What's Holding You Back: Stress