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The Relatable Confession of an Everyday Man

The Bible is filled with inspiring faith statements. Consider these. Convinced of Jesus as the Messiah, Martha confessed, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”1 Confident of His power and authority, the Roman centurion pleaded of Jesus, “Lord … just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”2 Shedding his doubts before his risen friend, Thomas proclaimed simply, “My Lord and my God!”3 All of these faith declarations embolden us to stand before all heaven and earth and proclaim the goodness of our God and the lordship of His Christ. Yet perhaps the most relatable faith confession of all is this humble plea from the desperate father of a tormented son—“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”4

Don’t you love it when someone unsnarls our tangled thoughts and articulates them so succinctly? In eight short words, this everyday man confessed three shared truths. First, he didn’t let his doubts deceive him into thinking he had no faith at all or beating himself up for not having more, rather he rightly confessed the measure of trust he did have. His remains a powerful example for us all. Then perhaps it was in the faith he did have that he also recognized his unbelief, openly acknowledging it before Jesus. He did not let his doubts drive him from the presence of Christ, rather he drew near to Jesus in the faith he possessed, trusting Him with the truth of his weakness. Finally, this humble father asked Jesus to help him do what he could not do in his own power or understanding: “help me overcome my unbelief.” In faith, the man prayed against his doubts. After all, isn’t prayer simply speaking with God, whether He lives among on the earth in the flesh or dwells within us from His heavens through His Spirit?

We all struggle with unbelief to some degree, for there is a tempter hell-bent on luring us away from the obedience of faith and into the rebellion of doubt, from trusting in God’s will to exerting our own. These are completely at odds, for “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”5 So, we have a choice: we can follow temptation away from God and into troubling doubt and despair, or we can take our doubts to God in confession of his saving power and love. The desperate, humble father—this most relatable man—still points us to latter: the way of faith, confession and trust. Shall we join him?

Father, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief. Deliver me from the temptation to doubt, and grace me to live today in total trust in You, for You are good in all Your ways. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 John 11:27
2 Matthew 8:8
3 John 20:28
4 Mark 9:24
5 Galatians 5:17

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