I skipped through a chapter in my Bible this week. And it wasn’t because it was a long, tedious genealogy of names that I couldn’t pronounce. Nor was it a complex passage that my mind didn’t have the energy to untangle.
Honestly, it was just something that I didn’t want to read. It made me uncomfortable. It made me squirm. Because I knew that I should be doing more than just reading those verses. I should have been absorbing them into my heart and applying them to my life.
But I didn’t want to. Those words poked at a tender place in my heart. At a bruised place that still carries the reminder of a deep wound that has not yet found complete healing. My weary soul was not willing to unite the lingering pain with the shame(?) gift(?) of conviction that morning.
I bought myself a new study Bible for my fiftieth birthday last spring. The pages fresh. The words waiting to be received again with new eyes not influenced by the markings made in previous readings. In my last Bible, meaningful to me passages were neatly underlined all in one colour with the occasional precise star in the margin. I was careful to not tarnish my Bible in any way. When I would see the myriad of coloured highlighted sections, scribbles and smiley faces in the margins of other people’s Bibles it both awed and frightened my structured personality. Now I was compelled to stretch my interaction with God’s Word. With a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I bought a package of coloured pens to bring to my devotional time in expectation of connecting with God’s Word and not merely reading it. Now I use different colours for various themes. I circle words for emphasis. I double underline. With a ruler. No need for a complete, chaotic mess.
And now in my Bible there is a stark black and white section bookended by purple and green.
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. Mark 9:24
Because that is what it is. Doubt. Mistrust. And the dull ache of defeat and longing. Even though I have received tremendous healing, I haven’t yet received all of it when and how I expected or desired. It hurts. Especially when, and because, I fail to trust God’s timing and plan for my life and find myself actively resisting His offering of hope. And with that, the ability to receive the answer to the prayer I no longer dare to pray.
But God is good. And God is good at being God.
God chases me. He wrestles with my spirit. He waits patiently for me to finish my stubborn temper tantrum as a good Father does. And then He holds me close and whispers to not give up. To trust Him. To let Him be God, and me just rest confidently in the assurance that I am His beloved daughter.
Those prayers I refuse to pray? God persistently urges me to continue praying them. I argue. I pout. And then I relent one more time. The tension eases from my body and the flicker of hope grows stronger.
The scripture I rejected earlier this week? It stands forever. Whether I highlight it or not. God has imprinted it on my heart. Days later, I cannot erase God’s personal message to me. Even though I’ve tried. It won’t go away because God won’t go away.
I continue to be healed by God’s supernatural power that is far greater than my pain, brokenness and willfull attempts to veer off the path He has set before me. God is running after me. It’s time for me to stop, turn around and run into His outstretched arms. Again. It is there I will find help for my unbelief.
Thank you for this. I think it’s actually good for our faith to wrestle with our questions, doubt, and pain in real ways rather than put them to the side or hide them from ourselves or God, and it’s good for our connection with each other and for each other's faith to share these things. Thank you.
Also, even the verse shows a sort of wrestling between faith and doubt. Both are right there beside each other- “I believe” and “help my unbelief.”
Thank you Linette and Kristen for taking the time to comment and affirm my decision to share my doubts and times of wrestling with God. I love the intimate image of playing tag with God, and also the validation that we can actually strengthen our own and each other's faith by sharing our times of struggle. You are both an encouragement to my spirit! Thank you.
So as I "catch up" this morning on many wonderful writings in this Blog that you created, I am again touched by all the writers openness, honesty and vulnerabilities. This really hit home. Help me with my unbelief! The hours, days, weeks and years of my unbelief - and I could scarce admit it. Again, I am reminded to believe!! And it's probably time I started writing LOL Blessings my dear sweet friend.
I was so touched by this and was reminded again of how we have such a good Heavenly Father that is so patient and persistent! Thanks for sharing! You have an incredible talent for writing.
I loved this post. I almost found it playful even though the content was serious. I saw it almost as a game of tag. God bringing the passage back over and over tagging you, and you being touched by the scripture...and then running away a little bit to only have God come back and lovingly touch you again until the game is over and you and God are sitting on the fresh grass together chatting about it and gaining insight and healing. <3