I believe. Help me with my doubts! Mark 9:24 (MSG)
My Faith – The Believe Series – Part 6
These days, I feel like our beliefs have become concrete facts, objects of our intellect and the results of our limited human wisdom. We build them up like brick walls around our lives, giving us the illusion of protection and security.
Which is fine if we believe in concrete things like the fact that the shops open at 9am, and that Christmas Day is the 25th of December. These things (and more deep-seated beliefs) become bricks in our walls, building a belief system based on the tried and true. Bricks like if I tithe, I’ll be provided for; if I pray, I’ll be healed; if I take my children to church, they’ll stay good Christian people into adulthood.
I remember having a conversation with my husband about 14 years ago before we were dating about a prominent Christian leader here in Australia who had just been demoted as a Pastor due to a slew of moral failures. As I read about it in a letter sent to all the Pastors in our denomination explaining (professionally-ish) what had happened (my parents were pastors back then), I said to Jesse, “I never have to worry about my parents divorcing. That will never happen.”
It was a belief I held onto. My faith told me that because they believed in God and loved him, their marriage would be protected. Obviously, this Pastor, who had been demoted must have misplaced his faith and love for God, and lost his way. That's what I believed.
So years later, when my parents separated and went through a very messy and painful divorce, losing their positions as pastors, their jobs, their friendships, and more, some of the walls of belief I had built, began to crumble down.
That may sound extreme, but my beliefs and faith were in measurable and containable ideals. I built up beliefs on the idea ‘that' if I do that, I’ll get ‘this.'
Life’s not like that. Neither is faith or belief.
When my parent's marriage, and life as I knew it, changed dramatically, so did my faith and my beliefs. I wanted my faith to take my pain away, give me assurances, make everything work.
In a post on her website, Brené Brown said,
“As a lover of all things certain, I wanted faith to work like an epidural; to numb the pain of vulnerability. As it turned out, my faith ended up being more like a midwife – a nurturing partner who leans into the discomfort with me and whispers “push” and “breathe.” Faith didn’t make my life less vulnerable or comfortable, it simply offered to travel with me through the uncertainty.” (I've linked the article here)
Faith became my midwife too. It helped me embrace the pain, ask the deep questions, articulate the heartache, listen to the spirit, live into my beliefs.
It still does.
Our faith is not a building, our beliefs are not structures. We can’t hide behind them, and we shouldn’t use them as weapons. I’ve come to see that faith is more HOW to believe, not WHAT to believe. And belief is something we live into rather than something we fight for.
Mark recorded a story of a father who brought his ill son to Jesus. They believed he was demon possessed, and in his short life, he had thrown himself into harms way, almost to the point of death, many times: fires, rivers and more. He wanted Jesus to heal him if he could. Jesus said to the man, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts.” (Mark 9:23-24).
There is perhaps no greater line in the bible that I relate to regarding faith and belief.
I believe in God. I believe He exists. I believe that He is the life source, the energy that holds all things together, and that he is expressed and manifested in love, is in fact love itself, and his kind of love results in expansion and creation; in Jesus and resurrection.
BUT, how that works in my life?
I have doubts. Questions. There’s not a whole lot of black and white, but a TONNE of grey.
My belief says “God is here.”
My faith says, “help my unbelief.”
As I live into the belief that God is here, faith grips my arms and whispers, “breathe, push, relax, stop, start, keep going, eyes open, eyes closed, you can make it…”
How can faith help your unbelief? Leave us a comment below.
Go to Part 7 – Your Beliefs »