Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Do Believe...

I've noticed a lot of "quizzes" going around Facebook...Which TV mom would you be?  Which color are you? even Which character of the Bible are you most like?

I don't need a quiz to tell me the answer to last one.  I have always known and continue to know which Bible character resonates with me.  He's found in Mark 9, and he doesn't even have a name; he's just called the boy's father.  And his son was possessed by an evil spirit for years that caused the boy to be mute and to suffer from dangerous convulsions.  The father had asked Jesus's disciples to cast out the spirit and they hadn't been successful in doing so.  Then the man who is weary and likely at the end of his rope, desperate and hopeless after years of seeing his little boy suffer to no avail, gets an audience with Jesus Himself.  
the boy's father:  (to Jesus) But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us out.

Jesus: "If you can?  Everything is possible for him who believes."

the boy's father:  "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."  Then Jesus casts out the spirit and the boy is healed.

I love this snippet of Christ's earthly ministry for so many reasons, but primarily because I SO get where the boy's father was coming from.  He approached Jesus because he hoped against hope that Jesus might be able to help his boy.  There's not a whole lot of descriptive narrative in the passage, but I would guess this man came to Jesus that day with a heart that had been broken and disappointed a hundred times.  Surely he'd been searching for a healing or a cure for his child from the moment the affliction hit, coming up empty handed every time.  Makes me wonder what was going through his mind as he approached Jesus (especially after the disciples had tried and failed to heal his boy).  Perhaps it was something like this, "I really want to believe this Jesus might finally be our answer, but I am terrified to get my hopes up again."  So instead of approaching Jesus with complete confidence, he likely came off optimistic but very cautiously so---but if you CAN do anything...  

And that's what I love---that the boy's father came authentically, even if that meant his doubt was apparent.  He even admitted to as much with his words, which are so poignant and beautiful to my ears, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."

The truth is Jesus didn't NEED to hear this man's words to know this man's heart.  And likewise, He doesn't NEED to hear my words to know my heart.  But I have to believe that He loves when I choose to say them anyway and when I choose to come to him in a reckless authenticity...even when what I offer him is not tied up neatly with a bow--- perhaps especially then. 

I too, just like the boy's father, have my share of hurts and disappointments, some that have been hurting me for years, and when I bring them to God I probably look a lot like this man...hopeful, but scared to hope too much.  But what I know from experience and what Scripture tells me, is that it's okay.  God is big enough to handle any doubts, and big enough to be the hope that I, in and of myself, simply can't muster.  He's up to the task of helping me with my unbelief, of gently teaching me how to believe outside of my box and of loving me ruthlessly along the way just as I am.

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