Perhaps belief and doubt are not as black and white as we often assume. To be sure, there’s nothing to doubt without also the possibility of belief. And the choice to believe means there’s also the potential of doubt. These are flip sides of the same coin in continual tension with each other.
This certainly seemed to be the case with the father who bought his son to Jesus to be healed. He had originally brought his son to Jesus’ disciples, but they were unable to help.
Naturally, this became a moment mixed with belief and doubts, as revealed in his cry: I believe. But help me overcome my unbelief!
It’s clear he wants to believe and he trusts Jesus enough to bring him his son. At the same time, he realizes his faith is not as strong and confident as it could be.
And so he essentially prays for the grace to trust Jesus even more.
When we’re honest, there are many moments in which we might find ourselves in a similar situation as well.
For instance, after years of praying for the desires of our heart to be fulfilled, we might start to wonder if God is able or willing to give us what we desperately long for.
Or maybe we prayed for a loved one to be healed only to watch them die. It becomes difficult to pray again for the healing of now another loved one.
Likewise, after a major relational trauma such as betrayal, we might doubt reconciliation is possible. We want to believe, but need help with our unbelief.
Whatever it looks like, doubts don’t mean we lack faith, though our faith will still need to grow.
God is calling us ever deeper into trust. And doubts reveal our current edge.
Asking God to help our unbelief is humbly acknowledging we’ve not yet arrived at the complete maturity of our faith.
And this is a prayer to grow in faith – believing God is able to do what seems nearly impossible from our perspective.
In the end, even when you doubt, rest in the one who gives you the grace to trust him more.