I sat there in church, the room darkened and the praise band’s thrumming set now just a soft, slow piano tune as our pastor spoke words over the congregation.
“Has the Lord turned your life around?” he asked us, raising his own hand to indicate God had done this for him, too. “Have you surrendered to Him and drawn close to Him? I invite you now to pray with me … and surrender.”
There in my seat, my head bowed and my palms upturned, my heart reached toward God. The prayers in my heart swirled—my daughter, my sister, my friend with heart issues, my friend with bleeding and pain, my friend recovering from shoulder surgery, an acquaintance just diagnosed with a massive brain tumor. So many prayers … for them and for others, for the world in general … circled around me, fleeting thoughts in my brain and tugs at my heart. I know God is big and powerful, mighty to save and capable of doing any miracle. I squeezed my eyes closed, opening myself to all of this. Please, God. Heal, save, protect, I whispered in my soul.
And yet from somewhere, a little seed of doubt crept in. Would He?
Then I allowed my pastor’s words to register once more—surrender.
For a moment I was reminded of the desperate father’s plea to Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus’s disciples could not drive out a demon that have plagued the man’s child.
The father doubted whether anyone could save his son, and he asked Jesus to do something “if you can.”
The word “if” was the word Jesus seized upon. If? Jesus, part of the Holy Trinity encompassing God—Father, Son, and Spirit—three in one, Word become flesh. This was Jesus standing before him, and the man was asking “if”?
“‘If you can’? said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24 NIV).
Jesus did just that, driving out the demon and displaying the power and glory of God Almighty.
As I prayed in church, instantly I understood: In this moment I was the father of that boy. That little kernel of doubt creeping in, not wondering if he could but if he would, that too was “unbelief.”
Right there with my eyes squeezed shut, I prayed the prayer of that father in my own head: “I do believe. God, please help my unbelief.”
Immediately, I felt the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit shimmer down upon me like tiny drops of mist and sunshine.
God heard. God could. And God would shine His light into all of this.
God is always in command.
And that is my invitation to you today, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Wherever you are and whatever prayers are in your heart, I invite you now to join me and surrender to God. Let go of the doubts and pray the prayer of the desperate father: “Help my unbelief.”
God hears you, and God will respond in the way He knows is best.
Then go in peace, knowing God has heard you and felt you, for God knows the cries of your heart. He created you. You are not an exception, but rather you belong to Him.
And He holds you close. Amen and amen.
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If today’s post encouraged you, you might also enjoy Wednesday’s Your Daily Bible Verse podcast episode, When Your Faith Fails.
Get to Know Jessica Brodie:
Jessica is an award-winning Christian journalist, author, blogger, and editor. She is the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won more than 118 journalism awards during her tenure. She is the author of two devotionals, Feed My Sheep (2019) and More Like Jesus (2018), and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening (2018) and Called by God (2020), all from her newspaper’s Advocate Press.
Jessica also writes fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency, and her novel The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis contest for unpublished contemporary fiction from the American Christian Fiction Writers. A speaker and contributor to Crosswalk, Christianity.com, and the United Methodist News Service, she has a faith blog at JessicaBrodie.com. Subscribe to Jessica’s YouTube Channel HERE.
I also encourage you to catch the latest Faith Over Fear episode as well, titled Building a Faith that Stands.