It’s been too long since I have posted. I don’t really have any excuses. I have had a lot of setbacks in the past year, and my reliance on God, and my eagerness to share God’s saving grace has faded slowly away each day as I wallowed in everything that is wrong in my life instead of everything that is right. True, the “right” column seems mighty short some days, but that is because I have allowed the enemy to rule my thoughts, not God.
I have been allowing depression, anxiety and fear to control my life over the past 12 months. I am letting guilt overpower me instead of remembering that God gives me grace every day, every hour, every minute that I need it. I berate myself, reminding that I have even written books to share with others God’s message, then feel guilty all the more for not believing in it enough. All of which makes me feel more depressed, anxious, and fearful, like an endless cycle I can’t escape.
Mark 9: 14-28 tells of a man who had a possessed son. The man had asked Jesus’ disciples to cast out the demon, but they couldn’t. This man, like me, was fearful, depressed and anxious over the situation, unsure of his options and not believing it could ever get better. At his wits end, the man approaches Jesus directly for help.
This man is no shiny Sunday School example of what we should all do when times are tough. This is not a man who has no doubt. Sunday sermons haven’t convinced him that Jesus could really help when it comes to something personal – something that mattered deeply to him. Approaching Jesus with one part hope, nine parts skepticism, he says to Jesus: “ if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
How often I have approached God with the same disbelief that God can or will do anything about my problems. Followed by an immediate dose of guilt that I just don’t have enough faith to change the situation I want changed. All topped off with more fear, more depression, and more anxiety over the situation. Too often for me to count.
Jesus’ reply doesn’t scorn the man for his skepticism. “If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Gently, Jesus reminds the man that the only contribution he needs to make is to believe in the Power of Jesus Christ.
This is where my modern guilt takes a turn from the anxious father’s response. I, way too often, take hold of the burden of this direction, chastising myself for not believing enough as though the belief in itself is the magic potion that will change my circumstances.
But the father, he zeroed in on the heart of the matter, that anything is possible, but we can’t make anything happen through our own power or control. Freely admitting to Jesus that he couldn’t do it alone, the father exclaims “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” His free admission that, although he believed in Jesus and His healing powers, unbelief was a real part of his psyche as well. And the only way to overcome those strong negative powers was to lean on Jesus to help him to overcome.
It isn’t the belief alone, but the willingness to lean on Jesus to help heal the unbelief in our lives: the fear, the depression, the anxiety that keeps us from believing that all things are possible, even those things that seem impossible in this world. We cannot let guilt of not being good enough and experiencing doubt keep us from Jesus’ healing belief.
I’m not expecting an instant transformation because I have been letting the bad guys win way too often over the past year. But I am going to start writing again, because writing is the vehicle that Jesus uses to help my unbelief. And I could feel guilt over the power I allowed the enemy over the past year to keep me from writing and strengthening my belief. BUT I WON’T. I will pray to Jesus every day: ”I believe – Help me overcome my unbelief!” And through these actions, I hope to experience God’s healing grace in my life once again…and again…and again. Amen