Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reflections on the Land of the Un-Dead

“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) has been popping into my mind a lot lately.

This cry is uttered by a man after he’s asked Jesus to heal his mute son. When making his request, the man says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (Mark 10:22) And Jesus responds, “IF you can? All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 10:23), which is when the father cries, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.”

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m always surprised when I hear a nonbeliever say something to the effect that she thinks Christians are lost puppy dogs desperately lapping after a make-believer master.

Here’s an example. In response to a news report about a Cardinal’s comment that the Catholic church should adopt a more loving stance toward homosexuals, “Veronica25” said (in part), “Now they should admit that there is no God and that this whole religion crap was made up to give people guidance in the early years. By the way, Happy Zombie Jesus Day, everybody.”

I can’t speak for every Christian, but I can tell you that I’m certainly no “zombie” for Christ. Would that were even possible! It’d sure be easier. Because contrary to the beliefs of many, following Christ is not an anti-intellectual endeavor. Not at all. Christ instructs his children to follow him with their whole “heart, soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37), and trying to get these three in alignment is not without difficulty and it sure ain’t automatic. It takes conscious effort, the work of the Spirit, and a willingness to pray the prayer of this poor father in Mark 9:24.

I should know. Since leaving my job and beginning on this journey of reinvention, I’ve had moments of doubt, frustration, discouragement, confusion, and more. Heck, I’ve had days. And understand that I could testify for hours about what Jesus has done for me, going back years. But sometimes I’m like Janet Jackson wanting to know “What have you done for me lately, God?” keeping in mind that by “lately” I mean within the last two minutes. The truth is that I am frail and weak and can easily forget, without stubborn reminder, everything that has gone before.

So like the mute boy’s father, I must cry, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!” and this is a daily struggle. There’s nothing remotely zombie-like about it. Trust me.

But God is gracious, and he knows how weak I am. And so he provides signs and tiny wonders, lots of them, all the time.

But still.

Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!

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