Do you believe?

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”  

Helen Keller 


Did you know an African Impala can jump over an obstacle 10 feet tall, and can leap a distance of 30 feet, yet can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo by nothing more than a three-foot wall? The animals will not jump if they can’t see where their feet will land. 

Sometimes the things of this life loom so large they stagger us. The loss of a job, a strained relationship, a worrisome diagnosis—so many things, especially now—can shake us to the core. We stare over the precipice and we can’t see or even imagine where our feet will land. 

For a parent, nothing is more devastating than a crisis in the life of one of their children. There’s an example in Mark’s gospel. A dad brought his troubled son to the Lord, hoping Jesus would deliver the boy from years of suffering. An evil spirit often threw the boy into fits, sometimes into a fire or a body of water.  

This dad was desperate for the wellbeing of his child. He pleaded with Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”  

“‘If you can?’” asked Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:22-23). 

This dad’s response paints one of the most honest and gut-wrenching scenes in the Bible: “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24).  

The writer of Hebrews defines faith this way: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). This is so difficult to process when what we do see is so overwhelming. In the story from Mark’s gospel, we get a glimpse of this father’s head and heart colliding— cognitively he believed Jesus could help, but emotionally he had lived with this burden and heart-concern so long, his son’s healing seemed too good to imagine.  

So how do we pray in desperate times? When troubles conspire to erect a wall around us, blocking our view of what’s next—where we’ll land—may the definition of faith and the example of this father’s earnest and honest prayer, speak to our hearts!   


My prayer this week – Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! Will you use the most challenging obstacles in my life as a means of growing my faith? Assure my heart that although I cannot see where my feet will land, you can—and that’s all that matters.