“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Each night, my daughters and I sit in their room and pray. First we tell God what we are grateful for that day. Then we ask God for help with something. I am used to the usual requests, “Help me fall asleep,” “Help me not hit,” “Help me reach things that are high (no joke, for almost two months we heard that one!) Then, one night, my oldest daughter stopped me in my tracks with “I need help believing in God.”
When I caught my breath, I was able to say, “That’s a really smart prayer. It’s not always easy to believe, sometimes we need help.” We had a great conversation, she went to sleep and I prayed for a long time.
Christianity calls us to do a very difficult thing. We are to believe in Jesus, who we cannot see and who lived two thousand years ago and who asks us to live in a way that is very different from our society’s norms. It sounds almost impossible, and it is. That is, it is impossible if we try to do it alone.
Jesus realized that his disciples would struggle with this, that’s why he sent the Holy Spirit to help them. The Holy Spirit can sense our struggles and calm our fears. The Spirit can give us words at just the right moment, and help us to stay quiet other times. The Spirit can affirm our belief in us when the winds of doubt blow through our mind. The spirit is there at every baptism, every funeral, every step of the way, if we only look.
Sometimes, I feel God’s presence more than others. I will admit that I have gone through many periods of doubt. “If God is real, why did that child die?” “If God is real, why do so many people have trouble having children?” “If God is real, why can’t we all respect each other?” These periods of doubt ultimately bring me closer to God. Somehow, the Spirit makes God’s presence known through a song on the radio, played at just the right time, the words of a friend, saying exactly what I need to hear, or the colors of a sunset as I drive home from an exhausting day at work. The presentation varied, but the presence is constant, God’s love is lasting and his arms are strong. He will pull me from the depths of doubt onto my foundation of faith, I just need to reach up and hold him.
Your presence in my life is amazing. Without you, faith is impossible. Help me in the times I feel I can do it alone. Stand by me, so that when I fall, you can catch me. Enter my heart so that I can be your voice, helping others along their journey of faith, through your power.