My Unbelief

Do you believe in God?

Seems like an appropriate question on a Sunday morning. I'm sitting here in a church, in the office of a minister [it's my own office, in case you're wondering] asking myself that question. The honest answer?

Yes and no.

Before you shout towards the heavens for fire and brimstone to rain down on my already red head, I guess I should explain those answers. Of course I believe that God exists. Most of us have had moments of doubt when we're unsure if there's really more to this life. I've had a few of those "wake up in the middle of the night with your mind racing about your own existence" experiences in my life, but I've never dwelled on them; I never enjoyed an extended period of atheism. I just can't buy it. There must be a God. There's just too much in the world that makes sense to make Him not make sense.

Yet I've still had plenty of moments when I haven't believed in God. Throughout the whole starting a new church endeavor, we've tried to put everything in God's hands. From where the church is going to meet to how we're going to get money, we've been releasing the stress and worry to Him. But I haven't been consistent. Which is ironic, because God has been nothing but consistent. This past week, as most of you know, we put our house up for sale. Selling it ourselves and not advertising it left me worrying that we were in trouble and might not sell it. But within 48 hours a couple had made an offer. Then I was worried about getting the contract taken care of and, despite my doubts, God provided legal counsel to help us out through the transaction. And just after we signed it and I asked myself "what if this doesn't go through?" we received a back-up offer on the house. It's simply amazing that, despite my lack of belief, God still comes through.

It reminds me of an encounter Jesus had in an area of northern Israel immediately after his transfiguration. We read in Mark 9 that, as He returned from His mountain-top experience, His disciples tried unsuccessfully to heal a boy who was demon-possessed. In talking with the boy's father, the man pleads for Jesus to drive the evil spirit out. The exchange goes like this:

Boy's Father: "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
Jesus: "'If you can'? Everything is possible for him who believes."
Boy's Father: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

The very reason the man brought his son to Jesus is because he knew Jesus had the power to heal. But even as he stood there before Him, we still doubted Jesus' ability to cure his son. This experience serves as a lesson to the disciples about faith, a lesson that rings true to us today. Although we think we have faith in God we still hold our doubts as to whether He will provide for our needs in this world. And that is the unbelief that needs curing. I still have plenty of question marks in my mind about what the next few months hold as far as this church goes. I still harbor doubts in my mind about God's provision for us. But to Him I ask the same thing that the boy's father did: Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.