“I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)
I think about these words from Mark a lot.
I believe. But please help my unbelief. Followed shortly by, ‘Where are you God, and what use are you to me anyway?
I know that’s its my smallest, most ego driven self saying this, but sometimes that willful toddler of a self is the most real thing that there is, you know?
Because the times that we are at our most expansive and embracing, seeing everything and more with a beautiful clarity are wonderful, but few and far between.
Why is it that when you really feel that you need God the most; comfort and reassurance or just a smidge of diving reassurance, he seems so far away? And you find yourself saying ‘What is the use of you anyway?‘
And when you find yourself sitting in church thinking What the fuck am I doing here? I don’t belong here’
And you wonder why don’t people talk more about doubt and unbelief. Am I the only one, you think, or are people scared that faith is like a 3D picture that will fragment from a picture of God and disperse into so many palm trees and you’ll be stuck with coconuts. Or that if you confess that you are struggling then you’ll lose your place on the cool believers table and you’re even more suspect that you were when you were an atheist.
And I think (ok, enough of the third person, we all know it’s all about me) What is the damn point of believing in God if the hard times as a believer are exactly the same as the hard times when you’re not a believer? If the hard times without God are the exact same as the hard times with God then where’s the pay off? What’s in it for me?
Ah, the ego. I’m pretty attached to mine.
But maybe (and this is just coming to me as I write this, because blogging is just a cheap form of therapy after all, and the quasi-anonymous internet is the best place for soul-baring, after all, and what else is there to do at 2am anyway?) the hard times with God seem just the same as the hard times without God because there is never really a time without God.
There is no with or without,
No black or white,
No worthy or unworthy
and it’s our dualistic thinking, our insistence on focussing on how we should feel and what things would look like if we were happy or fulfilled or peaceful that is the real problem. And God is just sitting out there/ within there going, ‘Yeah, I’m going to have to ask you to sort this one out for yourself. But I’ll be right here there whole time. You’ll see’
I believe. Help my unbelief.
For now we see through a glass, darkly.
I still expect to have all the answers, don’t I?
So many shoulds.
I believe; help my unbelief, doesn’t have to be the hopeless concession that I’ve tended to see it as. It’s actually beautiful. We’re human. We do our best. It’s not always that amazing. Or transcendent. Or loving. But as long as we get back up and give it another go tomorrow,
We’ll get there eventually.