The title of this article may sound familiar, because it is what a father, who cried out in tears, said to the Lord in Mark 9:24. His anguish was because his son, who was plagued with a “deaf and dumb spirit” (Mark 9:25), could not be healed by the disciples. Now in the presence of Jesus, he hears these words, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). Just moments before, his hopes were dashed, now he is being challenged to believe what did not happen, could happen. These words from Jesus have caused me to stop and think for a moment about something so critical to the Christians walk; that is, belief. John will be bringing a lesson next week on the topic of faith, so I thought I would try and set the stage.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I suspect that many of us began to quote this verse or quickly passed over it because of its familiarity. It is spoken often to send forth a message to a lost and dying world. Sometimes, things can become so common that we lose sight of the profound message behind it and maybe this is one of those verses. Today, I wish to revisit this text, in hopes of reminding us about one amazing fact. What might it be? God loves you! The challenge is not in knowing if God loves us; but rather, believing that God loves us.
Let me explain by looking at this text backwards. Now, I need to say from the beginning that God’s redemptive plan is complete and the roles of various acts of faith, which include baptism, is clearly taught. But my intent here is to consider what is behind those acts of faith, so we begin with believing. The Greek word used here is often translated “faith” in other places. The nuances of its meaning all seem to come down to this, conviction. So, what is one to be convinced of? That God loves YOU! Okay, so I know that we understand God loves us, but are you convinced that He loves YOU? The ability to answer a question correctly does not mean we are convinced of the answer. God loves you, warts and all, just as you are (Romans 5:8)! It is here, that at times, I cry out to the Lord, “Help my unbelief.”
That unbelief, that I at times need to confront, is challenged when I consider how God revealed that love to me. It is so easy at times, to turn from acts of kindness, because we see ourselves as undeserving. But this gift has nothing to do with that, it is purely given out of love! God loved (loves) me, Dennis Godin (all of mankind) so much that He gave me (us…mankind) His love through the giving of His Son. It is this that God yearns for us to grasp first and foremost. God wants us to be convinced of His love for us! Everything springs forth from this conviction, including chance of eternal life. Lord, thank you for the gift of Your Son, the very expression of Your love for me…for mankind. And Lord, as is so often the case, when trials and self-doubt creep in, help my unbelief.