Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 03 Help Thou My Unbelief???


This passage came up earlier this week, and I thought it would be worth our time to consider what this man was asking, and how does it relate to us—to you and me?

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son,

which hath a dumb spirit;

18 And wheresoever he taketh him,

he teareth him:

and he foameth,

and gnasheth with his teeth,

and pineth away:

and I spake to thy disciples

that they should cast him out;

and they could not.

19 He answereth him, and saith,

O faithless generation,

how long shall I be with you?

how long shall I suffer you?

bring him unto me.

20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him,

straightway the spirit tare him;

and he fell on the ground,

and wallowed foaming.

21 And he asked his father,

How long is it ago since this came unto him?

And he said,

Of a child.

22 And ofttimes it hath cast him

into the fire,

and into the waters,

to destroy him:

but if thou canst do any thing,

have compassion on us,

and help us.

23 Jesus said unto him,

If thou canst believe,

all things are possible

to him that believeth.

24 And straightway the father of the child

cried out,

and said

with tears,

Lord, I believe;

help thou mine unbelief.

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together,

he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him,

Thou dumb and deaf spirit,

I charge thee,

come out of him,

and enter no more into him.

26 And the spirit cried,

and rent him sore,

and came out of him:

and he was as one dead;

insomuch that many said,

He is dead.

27 But Jesus took him by the hand,

and lifted him up;

and he arose.” Mark 9:17-27

Here we see a desperate father with a child in even more desperation—possessed by a demon. While we often have trouble imagining this, it was a real problem for this father. I want us to consider several things about this man and see what we can learn from this encounter. First of all, Jesus had been absent from the disciples (except for Peter, James and John) on the Mount of Transfiguration; and as He is returning He finds a crowd gathered, including the religious leaders, who were questioning His disciples, as well as this desperate father who cried out to Jesus on behalf of his son. Why couldn’t’ the disciples heal this child? They asked Jesus that same question after the incident was over.

And when he was come into the house,

his disciples asked him privately,

Why could not we cast him out?

29 And he said unto them,

This kind can come forth by nothing,

but by prayer

and fasting.” Mark 9:28-29

I think we often overthink Jesus’ response. Jesus simply makes it clear that all spiritual battles aren’t won with ease. There are some battles that we must prepare for, in the sense of drawing near to God, and while that can include fasting, it will ALWAYS involve an intimate prayer-life with God. But what is an intimate ‘prayer-life’ with God? We won’t go into great detail here, but praying is, in it’s most simple form, communication with our God! And while prayer takes many forms, we must keep our relationship with God up-to-date; as I often say, prayer helps us ‘shorten’ our lead-time. What I mean by that is when we communicate with our Lord on a continual, regular basis then we will be listening when He calls us to times of intimate preparation; we will be more able to recognize sin as sin, when it knocks at our door, turn from it more quickly when it does, and repent of it sooner when we do stumble into it. An intimate prayer life will help us keep short accounts daily with Jesus!

In this account we have disciples that, like us, often needed reminding of truth even as they walked with Jesus—they were no different than you and I, other than having the privilege of Jesus’ personal presence. Yet we have the privilege of the indwelling Holy Spirit who Jesus gave us to help us have a successful walk with HIM! Jesus said that this particular case was a hard one, needing special preparation. What about this father? What about us?

And ofttimes it hath cast him

into the fire,

and into the waters,

to destroy him:

but if thou canst do any thing,

have compassion on us,

and help us.

 A father with a child in need, had come to Jesus for help, he understood and believed enough to come to Jesus for his son’s deliverance. This man asked “if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us, and I can’t help but believe that this isn’t the first place that he had gone for help—he is at his wit’s end! Jesus relieves his angst and simply says:

If thou canst believe,

all things are possible

to him that believeth

‘All things are possible’, is a phrase that is often found in scripture, because God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.

For my thoughts

are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways

my ways,

saith the LORD.

9 For as the heavens

are higher than the earth,

so are my ways

higher than your ways,

and my thoughts

than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

So what was this man asking for as he:

cried out,

and said

with tears,

Lord, I believe;

help thou mine unbelief

We all wrestle with “mine unbelief” and this man is no different. Sometimes what God asks us to do is just what Jesus called this father to do:

If thou canst believe,

all things are possible

to him that believeth”!

God calls us to believe that HE is able. Even Abraham wrestled with this issue—sometimes God calls us to great tasks, demanding great faith IN HIM—rather than our own frail abilities and understanding.

And the LORD said unto Abraham,

Wherefore did Sarah laugh,

saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child,

which am old?

14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?

At the time appointed I will return

unto thee,

according to the time of life,

and Sarah shall have a son.”   Genesis 18:13-14

Jeremiah, one of my favorite prophets, when asked by God to buy a property just before the fall of Jerusalem, didn’t understand that God was simply using him to confirm his promises. God told Jeremiah much the same thing that He told Abraham, and the same thing He often says to you and me—HE will help our unbelief when we but ask.

Then came the word of the LORD

unto Jeremiah, saying,

27 Behold, I am the LORD,

the God of all flesh:

is there any thing too hard for me?”   Jeremiah 32:26-27

Our God is able to do whatever pleases Him, accomplishes His purposes and grows us into the image of HIS Son. We can trust HIM in all things—nothing is “too hard for me”.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

for we know not

what we should pray for

as we ought:

but the Spirit itself

maketh intercession

for us

with groanings

which cannot be uttered.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts

knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,

because he maketh intercession

for the saints

according to the will of God.

28 And we know

that all things

work together

for good

to them that love God,

to them who are the called

according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow,

he also did predestinate

to be conformed

to the image of his Son,

that he might be the firstborn

among many brethren.” Romans 8:26-29

God is using everything—even my mess-ups—to make me more like Jesus. My responsibility is to stay in tune with HIM! To trust Him, to believe Him with my heart and mind, not my “eyes”!

But without faith

it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God

must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder

of them that diligently seek him.”    Hebrews 11:6

That means that when my faith may be leaning on a straw, I can cry out to my Lord, “help thou mine unbelief”, and He will meet us where we are! God has us no matter where we are, and He will help us keep our eyes on JESUS!

I remember a very dark time in my life, yet in that time God ministered to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting! At that time, I experienced something like a dream three nights in a row—it wasn’t a dream of anything in particular but I would awake to a very dark, frightening, and disturbing feeling. The first night I just wrote it off to the stress of my circumstances. The next night, I began to be confused and unsettled but didn’t really recognize God’s hand at work. The third night when the same thing happened, the Holy Spirit seemed to be speaking to my heart that God was speaking to me. I remember responding in prayer to God that whatever He was preparing me for, no matter how dark and hard, I would trust HIM to take care of it.

Within the next few weeks I experienced one of the most horrific situations of my life, yet I knew God had prepared me for that tragic and difficult time, and while I didn’t repeat the words of this desperate father, I did feel that sense of Lord, I don’t know where you are taking me but I want to be sure and follow you in faith regardless of the desperation in my heart and soul. I think we are all in need of God’s reassurance at various times, and you may be in one of those times now; I pray that this message will encourage you where ever you may be.

May we re-double our efforts to stay in tune with our father, trusting Him no matter the test or trial that we encounter. And remember that prayer is our continual pipeline with our Father God and Jesus The Son, through The Holy Spirit!

Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks:

for this is the will of God

in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

This doesn’t mean that we have to go around with our heads bowed and our eyes closed, rather it means that we stay in tune with our Father and see every situation through HIS eyes, relying on His wisdom and direction at every turn. Living our life with an attitude of prayer “without ceasing”, always! Ever having the words of our Lord in mind:

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father

which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done in earth,

as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.”    Matthew 6:9-11

Living with His will leading my heart, His pleasure directing my mind, and His work ever being lived out through my every thought, word and deed!

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31