Tuesday, May 13

"I do believe, help my unbelief"

I went to sleep last night, after posting the previous entry.  And as I laid in bed trying to fall asleep, the tears rolled silently down my cheeks.  I woke up this morning, with a heaviness.  We sat in the hot tub bright and early.  Well maybe not so "bright" as it is dreary, grey and rainy here again today.  But the hot tub was a good place to talk out loud about some of the things that are heavy on my heart.

First of all, I can not stop thinking about little Ben as he gets closer to being with Jesus.  Why is it that a family that I only know through being directed there by a mutual friend, and yet, they feel like family that I know well?  I don't get that, but I believe that this is an example of how the family of God works.  
My husband is very taken aback with all of this too, and last night's blog post by the mom, Mindy has greatly touched his heart as well.

People are praying.  I have to tell you - about something that took my breath away, although not sure why - as we KNOW God works in mysterious ways.  But we have begun to pray on Tuesday nights, at our church.  We are very aware of the Holy Spirit at work, and this is just one piece of where the H.S. is moving.  The thing that surprised me so much, was last week, when on our online prayer site, a prayer request came marked URGENT and it was about Ben and his family.  What?  So when we got together for prayer, they mentioned that the request came in, although none of us know the person who asked for prayer on their behalf.  Oh, that is the family of God - surrounding people in such crisis.
So we petitioned God last Tuesday, and since.  

I guess my heaviness this morning is just a mess of things:  brokenness over a a family losing their little 5 year old.  (My heart knows what these little ones that age are like, as my grandsons are around that age).  I can't imagine the pain.  My thoughts are confused.  I honestly, really and truly believed that God was going to answer with physical healing.  And it seems like the healing will only happen in Heaven.  I am confused at why at times we have this assurance of God going to move and do something great … and then become confused because He doesn't seem to "act".  I know I know …. God's ways are not our ways.  But for some reason, I just really believed He was going to act the way we were praying.  My thoughts are confused and complicated because they draw me right back to losing our Jay.  If I prayed with boldness - it was then.  God chose not to answer us the way we prayed.  I have prayed with boldness for little Ben.  It appears like once again, God is choosing not to answer us the way we prayed.  Alvin said this morning, is it because we did not pray "hard enough" or "with the greatest faith" ???    What in the world does it mean to pray with faith - just even faith the size of a mustard seed.  Now, do you KNOW how big that seed is?  Pretty tiny.  But in the scope of faith - that is all that is needed.    What about praying so that we say to the mountain MOVE IT!!  And, it moves.
O God, my head and my heart is such a broken muddled mess.  Lord God, help my unbelief!!
Give me faith - the size of a mustard seed.  Help me not to pray with entitlement or with demands, but in align with your will.

This morning I said to my husband.  So, when we get together - is there room for us to talk out loud about our dismay, about our confusion, perhaps even our doubt as to whether our prayers even are necessary or not, or that God answers them or not?  Don't worry, I KNOW our prayers are necessary.  I KNOW he answers them. And whether I share my confusion and dismay tonight or not, God knows all my thoughts.  Because I know, my God knows my heart.  He knows my cries.  My unspoken words.  My confusion.  HE KNOWS.

I sometimes have thought that we pray at times as if we are "giving God an out" so to speak.  NOT like God needs us to give him anything, let alone an "out".  However, too often I hear people praying and tacking on "if it be your will" at the end of every thought, every request, every petition.  I want to think that because of my relationship with God - my walk with him - HE KNOWS that I am praying HIS WILL on things.   My friend  lost her son in a car accident back in 1998.  I will never forget when she said to me "Joy, we gathered around the car that morning and prayed"  and she also told me that her husband said, "God just does what He wants anyway, why bother praying."  

I remember talking with her about the analogy of having our kids come to us, and sometimes we answer them with a yes.  Sometimes we say no.  Sometimes they are angry at us because of our answers.  Sometimes we just want the kids to sit on our laps with their heads leaning against our chests.  But regardless of the answer to their requests, we delight in the fact that they are coming to us, and we reserve the right as their earthly parents to do/allow/not do/allow the things in their best interest.  Or sometimes we would grant things knowing that they would go through something hard as a result.  While our kids don't say, "Mom if it is your will, please ….."  NO they just come, cuddle up, sometimes stand in defiance, sometimes sit unable to speak and just weep … but they come to us because they KNOW us, and that they are loved, and listened to …

So I am trying to put all of that into my spiritual perspective, to get some insight into what is happening - and bold praying, and prayers not being answered in the way you think they should be - and trusting God with it all - all the pain, sorrow, extreme sadness, confusion, disillusionment, despair …

This morning, my quiet time takes me to Acts 3 - the first section where Peter and John come past the temple gate called BEAUTIFUL … and there is a beggar there - he can't walk.  People bring him there every day.  And he calls out to them, hoping someone will hear and give him what he needs …. which he believes is money.  They stop and Peter tells him "look at me".  I can just imagine this man, raising his eyes and gazing into Peter's eyes, fully expecting to get something from Peter.  LOOK AT US!!!  and then hearing Peter tell him - I don't have silver or gold to give you - but I have something better - so in the name of Jesus Christ - WALK!!!!  And Peter extends his hand, placing it over the beggar's hand - and instantly it says, his feet and ankles get strong!!  He gets up and walks, and jumps and is praising God.  WHAT A MIRACLE.  Crippled from birth - now walking and leaping and people recognize him and are filled with wonder and amazement!!  

I want this Peter faith.  The faith that makes me look someone in the eyes - and extend my hand - believing God will heal.  I want the mustard seed sized faith - that moves Mountains.  I want to believe in the amidst of my confusion, in the midst of my brokenheartedness, in the midst of knowing God is God - and is still sovereign ALWAYS and no matter what.

I realize that all of this messy faith stuff relates fully with my word for this year - ABANDON.  Being abandoned to the Lord Jesus Christ - fully, without hesitation, knowing it is risky, and not always easy, and that being abandoned to the Lord is about leaning into him even when I can't see the sun for the rainclouds.  So today, with all of these thoughts, I just say - like the man (Mark 9)  who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus disciples, and they could not cast out the demon because they lacked faith.  And the man asked Jesus "if you can" and Jesus answered him,  "what do you mean IF I can, anything is possible if you believe"  and the man says, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief."  

So Lord, I do believe too.  I know you are at work in us Holy Spirit.  I know you are doing miraculous things - more than we could ever ask or imagine.  So I ask you - increase my faith Lord - please increase my faith.  I believe - help my unbelief!!  AMEN.


Sherry Kay Dyck said...

I believe...help my unbelief...this has been my prayer for so long. My faith has been shattered over and over again these past few years as I battle major depressive disorder...and an unknown illness has debilitated my husband...and we've been utterly abandoned by the church we invested 19 years into...and friends have pulled away because they just can't handle our suffering anymore...and our marriage broke and is slowly being repaired again...and my body literally shut down with paralysis for no apparent reason...and I could go on and on. I wish I had a deeper faith...but it's been such a difficult road to walk when our prayers for healing just aren't being answered as we'd like them to be...and I see the immense suffering in our world and wonder...is God REALLY in control? Does He TRULY love people? What about all those girls in Africa who were stolen? What about those whose life is devastated by natural disasters? What about those who have no family, who are homeless right here in Winnipeg? What about my family? Why isn't my husband getting better? Why has no doctor been able to find the root cause? Why will Mayo clinic not even look at him? Why? Why? Why? Lord I WANT to believe...help my unbelief...

Joy said...

Sherry, thanks for your comment. It is hard living in this fallen world. Pain. Sickness. Death. Suffering. Brokenness. It is hard. I don't have experience with much of what you have written about, but I have had experience that has shattered me to the core of my being. My heart and my head have struggled - but I thank God that in the midst of the hardest times of my life, I CAN recall HIS faithfulness in the midst of the brokenness. I continue to ask Him to increase my faith - and in the middles of these cries, I weep. Life is hard. But it would be so much harder without Jesus. I have been profoundly touched by a book I read by Dr. Larry Crabb called Shattered Dreams. I have it here - and would gladly share it with you. I don't believe God does the bad things … but I do know that He allows things, and we also bring on things by the choices we make at times - because He has given us free will. If you need a place to talk - I will make tea and we can do that. God really is Sovereign my friend. But babies still die at birth, young moms die in car accidents and leave behind children as orphans … people get cancer including children like sweet Ben, who went to heaven last night. We don't have the answers - but we know WHO does. One day we can ask Him when we get to heaven although at that point, I figure we won't care about the answers. Love you Sherry. Keep pressing in - Keep believing and asking Him to help your unbelief. He Knows.