I like to think of myself as a life-long learner. And I believe that my motivation to learn is only one of the many blessings that God chose to give me. I learn something new every day.
One of the downsides to learning is discovering that I was wrong about something I thought was true. Fortunately, this isn’t an everyday occurrence. Nevertheless, it happens enough that when I find out I was actually right about something, I’m sometimes skeptical that I may be missing something.
Knowing this reality, I’ve concluded that there may be some things I believe to be true about God that isn’t true. This is a problem if there is a test that I’ll need to pass before entering heaven. Fortunately, one of my beliefs is that there isn’t an actual test. So perhaps, instead of a test, I’ll experience Jesus having a belly laugh over some of my more outrageous beliefs that God finds particularly humorous.
This is the nature of belief as I’ve come to experience it. How about you? Do you have doubts about what you believe to be true about God?
According to his book, Help My Unbelief, Barnabas Piper has a few. And as a pastor and son of a pastor, I’m impressed at the questions he is willing to ask God. Some are the same as mine. But I still have questions about some of the beliefs he seems to take for granted.
One agreement we have in particular is about the Bible. We both believe God reveals precisely what God chooses to reveal in scripture. No more and no less. And scripture leaves us with more questions than answers. So why didn’t God choose to tell us more?
While unsure of the answer, my guess begins with a question. Where would God stop if not where scripture stops? How many words would it take for God to fully disclose an infinite subject? Although I admit that math isn’t my strongest subject, I’m pretty sure the answer is also infinite.
And I believe that God’s nature continues to be revealed. However, our interpretations are imperfect and, a lot of times, downright wrong. But I believe God wants us to keep trying, which means we should never stop asking questions.
Barnabas reveals that his book’s title comes from a story in Mark’s Gospel. In the story, a man hopes that Jesus can heal his son. His son may have suffered from a condition beyond medical knowledge at the time. Nevertheless, the writer describes the boy’s condition as possessed by an evil spirit.
Whether you believe in evil spirits is not the main point I want to highlight in this story. Jesus detected skepticism in the father’s request when he added the qualification, “If you can?”
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Is this the essence of what it means to believe? That anything and everything is possible? If so, I’ve got a way to go with my belief.
We read that in response to Jesus’ comment, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do bel ieve; help my unbelief!”
Elsewhere in scripture, we learn that belief of the caliber that Jesus referred to is a divine gift. But, as much as we may want to believe, we simply can’t on our power. Even if we spend a lifetime studying scripture, become fluent in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic, and graduate from seminary. We are not able to fully trust God without God’s help.
Fortunately, the gift of belief is available to everyone who asks.
Once we run out of questions. Once we run out of options. And when we finally surrender our lives wholly and entirely to God, we receive the gift of belief.
I invite you to join us for worship. And if you have a prayer request you can submit your request online on our website home page. In addition, prayer request forms are located around the church and during water and food giveaways.
You can join us each Sunday in person or online by clicking the button on our website’s homepage – Click here to watch. This button takes you to our YouTube channel. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
A reminder that we publish this newsletter that we call the Circuit Rider each week. You can request this publication by email. Send a request to connect@FlintAsbury.org or let us know when you send a message through our website. We post an archive of past editions on our website under the tab, Connect – choose Newsletters.
Content for this series is based in part on:
Barnabas Piper. Help My Unbelief: Why doubt is not the enemy of faith © Barnabas Piper, 2020. Charlotte : The Good Book Company.