Where is my faith?
That’s a question I have to ask myself far too often in the sense of, “Why don’t I trust God more?”
But it’s also a question I need to ask myself in terms of “Where am I putting my trust?”
We see both senses of this question in this passage.
Jesus and his 3 close disciples came down from the mountain, and ran into a huge argument between the rest of his disciples and the teachers of the law. What they were arguing about exactly, I’m not sure. It could’ve been something like, “Your Jesus is not truly from God. Look, you tried to cast out this demon, and nothing happened.” Or perhaps they were arguing about whether there was a demon at all in the boy that was brought to the disciples.
When Jesus asked what was going on, the boy’s father explained that a demon was in his son, causing him to go into seizures, and even trying to kill him at times. This father was obviously desperate, as this had been going on since his son was a child, and he pleaded with Jesus,
If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. (Mark 9:22)
If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes. (Mark 9:23)
The man replied in a way that I identify with quite well.
I do believe…help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
How did he say that, I wonder? My guess is that he was so desperate that he said he believed just so that Jesus would try to help. But then Jesus looked into his eyes questioningly, and at his gaze, the father broke down and said, “O Jesus. I want to believe, but this has been going on so long that I find it hard. But you’re my only hope. Help me overcome my unbelief!”
And Jesus healed the boy, casting out the demon.
I find hope in this for all the times that I struggle with unbelief. Because my trickle of belief so often gets overwhelmed by the tidal wave of my unbelief. That’s how it was with this father. Yet, Jesus showed grace and mercy to this father despite his unbelief, and healed the boy.
I’ve seen this in my own life, at times even questioning God’s goodness. And yet when I cry out, he answers. He shows mercy and grace. And I remember again, he really is good.
Later the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon. Jesus gives them a lecture about faith, that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can do anything. But then he said something very important,
This kind can come out only by prayer. (Mark 9:29)
Remember that up to this point, the disciples had been casting out demons in Jesus name. They had gone throughout the country doing so. But perhaps as time went on, they had forgotten that it was not really them doing the work, but God. And they had stopped putting their faith in God, but put it in their own powers or formulas for casting out demons. The result? They forgot to pray and were unable to cast out the demon.
And so the question again comes, “Where is my faith?” Is it in my own abilities? My own talents? My own wisdom? Or is it in God? If it’s in God, the faith of a mustard seed can accomplish much. Without God, I can do nothing.
These are things I struggle with every day. Perhaps you do too. If you do, pray with me now.
Lord Jesus, where is my faith? Too many times, I look at my circumstances and they are beyond me. And I panic because I just can’t see how you could possibly help me. Lord, forgive my unbelief. Help me to believe in you, to trust you in everything. And give me your peace and joy as you work in my heart and my circumstances.
Where is my faith? Too many times it’s in myself. And because of that I fail. Forgive my self-reliance. My self-trust. Help me to hear your voice. To trust you. To rely on you each day. In Jesus name, amen.