I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
“I believe, help my unbelief..." (Mark 9:24)
These are words spoken by a man thousands of years ago--a man fearful that the condition of his son would never be better. Who knows how far he traveled to bring his son to the disciples of Jesus, but he was discouraged by the fact that they weren't able to heal his son. He thought, surely these men who walk with Jesus would have been able to do it but they couldn't. So He came to Jesus with the hope that things could be different. So, he said to Jesus, "But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus responded, "if you can? All things are possible to him who believes."
And this man, with the humility and ability to engage his cynicism responds, "I do believe; help my unbelief."
What a powerful example we see here. Cynicism sits at the edge of our hearts everyday begging us to take hold of it so we won't take hold of God. It makes us believe reality will never change so why engage the ONE who says "all things are possible to him who believes?'
Cynicism would rather not engage hopelessness. It would rather critique and observe what all is wrong with the world but never engage with it. It wants us to believe that this is the way things are and will always be. And in that, we make ourselves believe that what we see is all there is. It dulls our ability to see with the eyes of faith.
We would rather not even tell God. We would rather give God the silent treatment. The enemy would rather have us be hardened by it and walk the other way, content with isolation.
This man shows us that though we live in the tension of seeing reality and the brokenness of humanity, we are still able to choose to cling to hope, to believe that change is possible. We don't have to be numb by what we see or what we have experienced.
This man is an example that there is a doubt that wants God’s promises but is weak in faith at the moment. And that weakness for the moment doesn’t drive him to a place where unbelief in God takes up residence. And if we aren’t careful, our doubts, unchecked, will turn to unbelief that is more than weak faith but complete opposition to faith.
He shows us how to engage cynicism: confess it. Ask God, who is able to change our hearts, to help us through it. In this story, Jesus shows us that He welcomes our doubts when we are willing to be humbled by it. God will humble us by reminding us who we are approaching. And don't we need that reminder?
Here is what we must remember: Cynicism doesn't like the word of God. It doesn't like to engage God in prayer and if it can get us to that place, it wins. It keeps us from looking at any glimpse of hope. But cynicism brought to God in prayer with the simple words, "help" moves His heart. And our good good Father helps us. He may not even change the circumstance in that moment but He changes what is needed most---our hearts.
Don't let evil win with your cynicism. Let us take hold of the means of grace He's given us to follow Him out of it--prayer & His Word. Let's cry out. Let's lament. These are all acts of faith, not indications of lack of faith.
Let's come to God knowing that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH HIM and He will lead our hearts out of cynicism and into childlike faith.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: