An About Face about Faith

…which I remind myself on days when things (whether in the world or personally or both) feel, are bleak and having (holding onto) faith is hard.

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A man brought his sick child to Jesus, saying, “If you are able to do anything, help us!” Jesus answered, “All things can be done for one who believes.” The man said, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”[1]

This man is one of my biblical heroes. Because of his naked truthfulness. “I believe, Jesus, or I wouldn’t ask you for help. But, at some level, to some degree, I don’t believe. Yet I trust you to help me with that, too!”

As a lifelong Episcopalian, I was raised on the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. One of the prayers of forgiveness for sin speaks of God who “pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel.”[2]

As a child, I understood (however inchoately!) repentance meant that I turn away from my way and return to God’s way. But unfeigned belief? Belief untouched, untainted by doubt? Hmmm, not so much!

This father with his honest confession of doubt continually teaches me that God desires my faith be without falsehood. That my belief be without blind bravado. That I have an open faith that candidly can and will expose and express areas of my disbelief.

After all, I pray to God “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.”[3] God knows both my faith and my doubt. The God who, as doubting Thomas discovered with Jesus,[4] can take my doubt and lead me into deeper faith.

Therefore, I pray: “Lord, I believe. Heal my unbelief and I have faith that you will!”

© 2022 PRA


[1] Mark 9.22b-24

[2] The Book of Common Prayer 1928, page 7

[3] From The Collect for Purity, The Book of Common Prayer 1979, pages 323, 355

[4] John 20.24-28

2 thoughts on “An About Face about Faith

  1. Paul,

    Healing my unbelief speaks volumes to me!!! So many things in life tests our faith and I think it’s ok, even necessary at times, for our faith to be shaken!!
    Love!

    Like

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