So much going on today! In Genesis 39, Joseph demonstrates a one-word strategy for facing temptation. Run!
Job is just beginning to endure his companions’ lectures in chapter 5.
Romans is probably my favorite book, but the 9th chapter is a passage I really had to wrestle with while trying to come to terms with the idea of predestination.
Then there’s Mark 9. We see Jesus’ full nature briefly revealed. I scoff at the disciples for having to debate what ‘rise from the dead’ means. Then I listen to Jesus tell them ‘Elijah’ has already returned (in the person of John the Baptist) and I decide to cut Peter some slack for looking for non-obvious meaning in Jesus’ words.
Then we get to verse 24:
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 NIV
The above verse is in my mind the most honest statement anyone’s ever made to God. There’s perhaps no statement in the Bible I can relate to more. I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, personal, true, just, merciful Creator God who sent his Son to die in my place and whose Spirit inspired every word of the Bible. Why then do my thoughts and actions so seldom reflect what I believe?
Lord, if I believe every word of the Bible comes from you, then why do I need a Bible reading plan to keep me motivated to open it?
If I believe your words concerning hell, why am I not spending every waking moment working to lead others away from it?
If I believe you are the sovereign Creator of the universe who invites me to commune with you, why do I so frequently fail to make prayer a priority?
After I watch you answer a prayer, why do I wonder if you’ll hear the next?
If I believe in your loving wisdom, why do I ever question your will?
You tell me dozens of times to ‘fear not’, so why am I so familiar with that feeling?
If I believe you went to the cross for me, why do I struggle to serve you whenever it is inconvenient or calls for some small sacrifice?
If I believe you took my sin upon your shoulders on the cross, how can there be times when I knowingly add to your burden?
If I take you at your word concerning the wonder of Heaven, why do I sometimes fear the idea of leaving this earth?
If I believe that my children belong to you and that you love them more than I ever could, then why, in sleepless moments in the dark of night, do I fear for their well-being if I were no longer here?
The questions are many, but I believe the answers are just one: My unbelief.
Dear Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!