Believing is Hard

Believing is hard.

Truer words have never been spoken by a pastor in my opinion, and it was a great introduction to the topic for the third week of our series: God is for the unbeliever.

It is obvious from my previous posts I am not an unbeliever, but that doesn’t mean I don’t encounter doubt. The great thing about God, though, is He is okay with that. John 3:16 tells us God loved us so much He sent Jesus. It doesn’t say “because the world loved Him” or “so the world would love Him.” It says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). He already loved us, whether we loved Him or not. Matthew 11:28 says “come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (NKJV). Again, it doesn’t say “only those who believe, come to me,” or “come to me only after you have accepted me as Savior.” No, there were no pre-requisites.

In other words, it doesn’t matter where we are in our belief of God, He loves us no matter what.

. . . . . .

Since first hearing it at my previous church, the story of Mark 9:14-24 has impacted me. However, since experiencing…what has been going on in my life, I view the story differently. I wasn’t at my lowest then, at rock bottom. Now, I feel I am. I literally have nowhere else to go but God, much like the father in the story. The father’s plea of “if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22, NKJV) hits me harder. Not because I’m a parent (unless you count being a pet-parent), but because my soul has that plea every day.

Jesus responds: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”  (Mark 9:23, NKJV). This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we desire will happen; rather, that what we desire is possible if we would only believe.

The father cries out to Jesus in response: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NKJV).

And there we have it. We can believe, yet still have unbelief, especially when things in life hit us hard. Sometimes we just have to cry out I need help believing!

And I do.

There are plenty of times I have difficulty believing something unless I can see fruit of the labor. While I have no problem attributing the good things of my past and present to God, I sometimes have difficulty in believing He is working unless I can immediately see something. My husband and I experienced difficulties in the past, but things happened that made it clear God was behind the solution. Now, though, I am struggling with seeing how He is working because things haven’t happened in the way I anticipated. At the same time, I do believe He is working.

So I cry out I believe; help me with my unbelief!

. . . . . .

A thought struck me during the message yesterday.

My parents divorced when I was 13. While it definitely wasn’t a decision made by both parties, it also wasn’t in any way messy (at least that I could see). There are two things I remember during this time. The first was a night my parents were arguing. I begged my mom to not divorce my dad, and her response was not “I promise.” I don’t remember the exact response, but the message was things are harder to do when you’re in the situation. I also remember begging God to not separate my family.

Obviously, that prayer was not answered. I was, of course, upset, and I blamed Him for everything. I then realized that was the beginning of my doubt.

But as I was listening to the message, I thought what if there was a reason that particular prayer wasn’t answered?

Since my life imploded (well, that’s what it feels like!), my parents have helped and supported me, but in their own ways. While my dad and I have been close since I was little, and we’ve always had our own way of bonding, I feel like I understand him a bit more now. And though my mom and I have always been very close, this situation has given me the opportunity to separate myself a bit and see things I didn’t before. I’ve realized I need to be me.

Perhaps it was part of a bigger plan.

. . . . . .

Believing is hard. Do you agree? Why or why not?

What helps you to believe?

I’m going to continue to work on my belief. I am going to continue to cry out to Him to help my unbelief. I’m going to keep praying, keep plugging into my church, and keep speaking life into what I am facing.

Because when we have nowhere else to go, we go to God.