I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24). These words ring true for me so often in my experience of Life’s struggles. I DO believe. That I’m sure. But what I believe, and why I believe, very much affects the way it applies to my every-day life, such as it is. The question can become, “Is God really with me in all this, or is He merely a human concept that I adhere to when I put on my “religion” glasses and view everything through prescribed lenses?” When the hardships come, one after the other, I don’t have time or energy to get philosophical. I just go deep and admittedly cry out to God, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Perhaps the best thing to do, in a moment of respite and clarity, is to boil it all down and try to see without my “religious glasses;” glasses that I may have received from my parents and fitted through early childhood experience, or given and prescribed by professionals (be they professors, priests or pastors).
It is true that we all see through a lens of some sort (call it a “worldview”). And, it is very hard to remove those glasses unless we are crying our eyes out in despair and doubt, weary of what seems endless pain. Sometimes it also becomes necessary to shed those glasses because they labor or confuse rather than aid healthy perspective. Disillusionment is often the reason for parking the glasses on the head, or setting them aside entirely.
I have heard it said to me in hushed confession that “Church” has become more of a hindrance than a help. Leaders in their “robed” practice have been either abusive or manipulative. “Goers” in their habitual attendance have been hypocritical or hurtful. Promises are made but rarely kept. Maybe so, even with God! Going through the religious motions is only emotionally disturbing and distressing. Where now to go? Where now to turn?
Boiling it all down, glasses aside, I need God “with skin on.” I ache for Him to be tangible in my storm of struggle. My Help may not come from my church life-guard. My Comfort may not come from my church wrap-around. I simply need Him, as difficult as it is to see Him, as frustrating as it is to feel Him. Yet something inside, something that can’t easily be shaken, that will not yield It’s space, despite all of my personal attempts to deny or destroy, remains… I still believe.
God is. Period. Whether I believe or not. The deeper faith I have, time and trouble fire-tested faith that was first given me by God alone, remains. Given by the Father, from whom my help comes, secured by the Son, who established it for me long before I asked, and insured by the Spirit, who remains my ever-present help in seeing my way through, must be that which (though I may try) must never be set aside. That is, unless I prefer being blind (and I don’t).
Miserable at times? Yes. Worn out and weary at times? Yes. Tired of it all? Yes! Wanting it to be all over, done, and finished?? Yes. Does that mean that God must show Himself to me? Sadly, No. But this I DO know, by the faith certainly given me, He is. Period. And He is near.
Can I simply, non-religiously, explain it? Most definitely not. But as painful as Life has become, so far, it is still precious to me. For it’s through this experience of life that I have come to believe. I have gone much too far with God, and He done much too much for me, to turn from Him now. I am His and He is mine, come what may, no matter how much I may anguish in the day. I still believe. To that, by faith, I cling. Boiling all down – I believe; help my unbelief!
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
1 Corinthians 4:8-10