Help Thou My Unbelief (Mark 9:22-24)
The father in distress as the disciples are not able to take the demon out of his son, asks Jesus if He can do anything to have pity and help them. Jesus replies, “All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father answers “I believe; help my unbelief.” At that moment the father is willing to believe that Jesus can heal his son, but knows that only Jesus can bring him out of his state of unbelief.
When we believe in Christ we put our trust implicitly in Him and in His Word, never doubting, knowing that His Word never returns to Him void. It was a surprise to hear of a priest who replied to one of his parishioners when he asked him what day was truly the Sabbath. He told him not to worry over such things, “Do you really believe in the parting of the Red Sea?” he asked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. If a priest did not believe that God could part the Red Sea, would he believe in a God who could create the heavens and earth. God spoke the world into existence. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.” (Exodus 20:11). Isaiah 55:11 explains “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
What message would this priest give to his flock? Would he conceal from them the truths that the Bible reveals? Many people believe the Bible is comprised of myths. This is due to the way the human mind apprehends things, depending on his limited view and his dependence on his own logical thinking. The mysteries that lie beyond us are too deep for us to fathom. These mysteries remain buried in the heart of what gave Jesus the power to heal by His word or touch. Would this priest be able to tell his parishioners of the awe-inspiring experience of the disciples when tongues of flames descended over their heads on the day of Pentecost and each congregant heard each one speaking in his own tongue (Acts 2:1-14)? The Holy Spirit reveals to the believer insights and wonders that are concealed from those who are outside the realm of acceptance. He quickens the understanding that Christ is the Supreme Being who came and died for us that we may have life and have it more abundantly. John 1: 1-3 tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
How can a non-believer trust God and know that it is He who inspired man to write His Word for our edifiation, that all scripture is given by instruction of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17), that it is He who gives us the wisdom to carry out His teachings? How would he be inspired to learn about Jesus walking on water, i.e. the sea, and encouraging Peter, one of His disciples, to do the same (Matt. 14:28-31)? The doubt that would pervade his mind would shut out the possibility of any such event coming to pass. Those of us who believe are blessed for Jesus said “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29).
The apostle Paul was at pains to convince the Jews and the Gentiles of the Gospel. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own inisight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” This priest thought he knew more than God and was willing to convert one who looked up to him for advice about the Word of God into apostasy. Mark 3:24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand.” David Psalm 19:13 “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression.” The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning of presumptuous as overstepping one’s bounds, forward, unduly confident, arrogant. The atheist is presumptuous to challenge those to whom the mysteries of the Godhead are revealed. He is prepared to laugh to scorn the fact that Abraham and Sarah could have a child, Isaac, in their old age, or that Jonah could lie in the belly of a fish for three days and emerge to execute God’s command. Jesus, Himself, referred to Jonah’s ordeal when He commented while referring to His death and resurrection, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.“ (Matt. 12:40). Jesus was in the tomb for three days before He arose on that bright and glorious Day. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days before his release from it. This priest would not consider himself an atheist, so why is he a doubting Thomas?
Joshua and Hezekiah trusted in God’s omnipotence to bring about the supernatural. When Joshua saw the day coming to a close he asked the Lord to lengthen the time of the sun so he could finish the battle and the Lord complied with his request (Joshua 10:12-14). Hezekiah, on the other hand, when God told him by the prophet that he would die, pleaded with God to spare his life. God heard his prayer and told him that he would add fifteen years to his life. Hesekiah asked the Lord for a sign that He would extend his life by fifteen years God acquiesed to his request by turning back the shadow of the sun ten steps? Would this priest and others like him believe in the possibility of God performing such miracles? We need to absolutely trust God that He is able to accomplish the impossible for nothing is impossible with God.