Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:17-24)

The above deals with a father of a son beset by a dumb spirit. The father upon hearing that Jesus could heal his son cries out that he believes … but then adds that he has unbelief. Is this a contradiction? What a strange thing to say? Had the man changed his mind from belief to unbelief?

The definition of ‘believe’ can be found with Abraham being strong in faith and not in unbelief … being  fully persuaded. Here is the definition of what it means to believe. It means to be fully persuaded.

“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”(Romans 4:19-21)

An everyday example of being fully persuaded would be jumping out of a fifty-story building. There would not be a person on this earth that would not be fully persuaded, that they would plummet to the earth under the force of gravity and be killed. Dear Reader, would you be fully persuaded that if you put your hand on a very hot stove that you would suffer bad burns? So this is what is means to believe … you would be 100% persuaded.

Now like the father in Mark’s account, we all oscillate between belief and unbelief. Abraham was strong in faith and obviously had 100% belief and was fully persuaded … he was 100% persuaded in THE HEART and the mind.

Now we read in Romans 14, there are people who are weak in faith, that is, their faith consists not of being 100% fully persuaded IN THE HEART. Dear Reader, I think that may describe us all from time to time. We read the following scriptures:

Casting care (1Pet 5:7); Careful for nothing (Phil 4:6-8); All things work together for good (Rom 8:28); Giving thanks always for all things (Eph 5:20); In everything giving thanks (1Thess 5:18); Sound mind (2Tim 1:7) and so on.

Sometimes we are fully persuaded in the head at the truthfulness and certainty of these verses, but when everyday events happen, we may not be, and God seems a little further away as the heart might weaken.

Now we are reminded that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6) and that our faith is based on our belief … so we can waver in our faith … that is to be not fully (100%) persuaded in heart and mind.

So we can empathize with the father in Mark’s account. When Jesus talked about healing his son, he was excited and said he believed and was fully persuaded … but then it seemed that the physical healing of his son was just a ‘pipe dream’.

The moral of the story (as they say)

Dear Reader, the scriptures are true. According to the dispensation of Paul (Romans to Philemon) we are given instructions for Christian living. Sometimes we might just shake our head and say “I couldn’t do what’s written there! That’s impossible! I believe what is written as God doesn’t tell lies, but the gap between what is written and the reality of it coming to fruition is light years.”

Dear Reader, let us be encouraged with the father’s dilemma in Mark’s gospel. That is you and me in a nutshell. But this is what faith is and how it grows. God’s blessing to us, is to place us in impossible situations … and then try out hearts against what we read in his word.

Truly a prayer that must be music to God’s ears is “Lord, I believe in the head. Please help thou my unbelief in the heart”, and in his will, his way and in his time, God will get all the glory! God loves to be needed! He loves our dependency! (James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7)


Harley Hitchcock  

September 2022


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