Mark 9:23-24 ESV
23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out[a] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
He had tried everything. He was desperate. His son had a terrible unspecified ailment, the boy couldn't talk, he convulsed, his mouth foamed. His son had been injured gravely from the convulsions he'd had. This desperate father had taken his son to the disciples of Jesus Christ, but they couldn't help. Finally, he pushes his way, his son in tow to Jesus, and asks an honest question, "can you help, please help if you can."
The father wants to believe, but that hasn't worked before. He wants to have hope, but that hasn't ended well for him.
Jesus invites the father to consider his words "if you can." Nothing can happen until the father is willing to have faith. Healing can't happen until he's willing to trust Jesus. "If you can" doesn't allow that. "If you can" stands at the edge of the pool not really even wanting to dip a toe in to test the waters. Faith invites us to jump right in, clothes, sneakers, and all. Come right in.
The father in the story is easy for us to relate to. Most of us have said a prayer before that was prefaced by "if you're there." All of us can say along with him, "help my unbelief." Extending yourself in faith to believe is one of the hardest things we do. Most of us have been to the place where we've prayed constantly for something or someone, and it just doesn't seem to work. "I believe, help my unbelief." We want to reach out, to trust, but we're hurting and tired.
Healing happens. His son is made whole. Jesus helped his unbelief.
Be honest in your prayer. If you're having a hard time with belief, share that and pray that "help my unbelief". Know that our prayers offered like this are heard by a caring and compassionate Jesus. Know that you're loved by your Father God. Know that He will reach back, and healing of your heart can happen.
Psalm 51 tells us that God doesn't despise a broken and contrite heart. Come to Him with your disappointments, your hurts, your scars, broken and contrite. With belief or disbelief, He will meet you there with grace, mercy, and healing. Take your broken heart and make it contrite, make it repentent. Acknowledge your need of belief, and your emptiness, and be filled with grace and belief.