Faith of the simple father….
Help me overcome my unbelief
9th chapter of the Gospel of Mark narrates an incident of Jesus healing a boy from the possession of an evil Spirit. The boy was first brought to the disciples, but they couldn’t heal him. Then he was brought to Jesus, and his father makes a request;
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9, 24)
I won’t call it a definition of faith, but it expresses faith beautifully. There are two necessary components.
- There is an aspect of belief. The father does say that he believes. That statement is connected to a decision on his part.
- There is also an aspect of unbelief. He understands the dimension of unbelief within him and asks for help to Jesus.
I completely agree with this quote, and I think the beautiful cry of that father in the gospel is a beautiful expression of faith, despite all his doubts and unbelief. Or it’s faith that accepts the provisions for doubt. A good question to think is, if there is no doubt or unbelief, whether it’s really faith?
I really hate such depictions of faith and doubt as binary opposites, which don’t have any points of intersections. Many of the simple biblical characters teach us how to be a simple human being and have deep encounters with Jesus.
NB: Some people define doubt and unbelief differently; that definition of unbelief, connecting it to will, may not be appropriate for this biblical passage.