Clinging to God

Kangaroos in Australia (Photo by: Mark j. Booth)
Kangaroos in Australia (Photo by: Mark j. Booth)

Do you remember as a child when you would cling to your dad or mom when you felt danger approaching? “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Psalm 63:8) The words “followeth hard” have the idea of clinging unto the Lord. When danger, temptations and sorrows approach, the best response is to cling to Our Heavenly Father. He alone can carry us through the tough times.

The world is a dangerous place for every child of God. We face a variety of dangers, including temptations from Satan, the lusts of our own flesh, and pressures from the world to conform. Because of these dangers, we need to cling to our Lord each step of the way. When we let go of the Lord, we not only find ourselves being exposed to dangers from without, but also the dangers from within our hearts.

The first aspect of clinging unto the Lord is total dependence upon Him.  We know that within ourselves there is no hope to face the dangers and pitfalls of this life. When crossing a very busy street, I would cling to my Dad’s hand. I was completely incapable of crossing the many lanes of traffic alone. The cars were large and moving fast. I completely depended upon my Dad to navigate me to the other side of the street.

All through the Word of God, we see people who forsook their own ability and completely depended upon God. David when he battled Goliath totally depended upon the Lord. Like David, no matter how big the danger before us, we can cling unto our Heavenly Father.  He will never push us away.

Joseph continually faced pressure from Potiphar’s wife to commit adultery. The pressure was great to yield to this temptation, but Joseph continually depended upon God. Daniel could have compromised his faith several times while in Babylon; yet he depended totally upon God. Ruth could have lived a life of great despair, but she depended upon God in the midst of all the trials she faced. We have the same Heavenly Father that each of these had. We can and need to depend upon Him.

A second aspect of clinging unto the Lord is our complete love for Him. Peter’s denial of the Lord occurred when he placed his love for himself above his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. After the resurrection, Jesus emphasized this truth to Peter when He asked him three times: “Do you love me?” Jesus wanted Peter to know that there was great safety in clinging to Him in love.  Peter would face innumerable trials, but he clung to the Lord in love.

How close are we to God? Have we left our first love like the church at Ephesus did? When our love grows cold God seems distant. We don’t speak to Him with words of affection. We don’t open His Word with enthusiasm. We live our lives as though God is not there. This lack of love creates greater opportunities to fall into temptations, to doubt God’s love and provision, and to live a selfish life before others.

Loving God means that we need to stay as close to Him as possible.  We want to listen to His Word. We enjoy our times of communion with Him. We are not ashamed of Him, but we are proud to call God, Our Heavenly Father.

A third aspect of clinging to God is to recognize the dangers of this life. Last year, while in Australia, I came across a joey with its mother kangaroo. The joey was lying close to its mother; however when I came closer to the joey, the joey recognized danger.  He immediately leaped to its feet and jumped into his mother’s pouch. The joey found complete safety in his mother’s pouch.

Do we recognize the dangers in our life? Jesus constantly warns His followers of the ways of this world. He knows that we can easily become apathetic and careless in our spiritual lives. We don’t see the need of clinging to the Lord because we have become insensitive to the dangers around us and within us.

God is always there to uphold us, as long as we are always ready to cling unto Him. He holds His arms out as though saying: “Come unto me, I will protect you. I will love you. I will guide you through this situation.” We mustn’t let pride, self-will, ignorance, and busyness keep us from clinging to our Heavenly Father.

“Dear Heavenly Father, I have crossed many dangerous roads in my life. Sometimes, I have chosen to cross those roads without you. This has created difficulties for me and others. Thank you for the many times, that I have clung to you and you took me through those dangerous roads. I know that in the future I can depend upon you regardless of what happens. Thank you for first loving me; so that I can love you in return. Amen”

Parental Piety (An excerpt from a new book by David de Bruyn)

save-them-from-secularism2

Dear Readers, very rarely do I include writings from other sources in my blog; however, this new Kindle Book by David de Bruyn is a very worthwhile read for all parents and grandparents. The title of the book is: “Save them from Secularism: Pre-Evangelism for Your Children.”  This Kindle Book is presently being offered free.  Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWRDT7Q

I have known the author since he was a child attending our church in Johannesburg, South Africa. David presently is the pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Sandringham, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Enjoy this one chapter of the book. It is my prayer and desire that you will download the whole book.

Chapter 2:Parental Piety by David de Bruyn

The first and greatest commandment is followed by a commandment to teach children to do the same (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Our goal as Christian parents should be nothing less than to help shape our children so that they will, by grace, become ardent lovers of God. We have said this happens not merely by telling our children to love God, but by shaping the child’s imagination.   Probably one of the first analogies the child’s imagination receives is the analogy of his parents’ piety. This provides him with a picture of what it is like to be in a relationship with God.

Before a child knows anything about justification, penal substitution, or the nature of God, he knows what a relationship with God is like. Or at least, he knows what his believing parents express it to be like. The religious imagination of child is shaped by being exposed to his parents’ piety, and it is their example that gives him his first introduction to how God is to be loved, and if God ought to be loved.

This is probably why right after telling Israel that they are to love Him with all the heart, soul and might, God tells them that these words about loving God ultimately “which I command you today shall be in your heart.” That is, these words are to be internalized and understood and practised by the parents themselves first. Following that, verse 7 kicks in. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Certainly, this teaching will take the form of direct instruction. However, our concern in this book is how the non-discursive, non-cognitive faculty of knowing is shaped. Certainly then, part of the teaching is the fleshed-out example of love for God seen in the parents.

Loving God ultimately can be thought of as ultimate dependence, ultimate devotion and ultimate delight. When we love God ultimately, we regard Him as ultimately reliable, ultimately valuable, and ultimately desirable. We do not trust, commit to, or rejoice in anything besides God as an end. All else are means: He alone is the end.

In a family, this kind of love for God is seen in very tangible ways. When in the middle of a health or financial or emotional crisis, Dad says to the family, “We can be very thankful for what God has given us. Let’s turn to Him now in prayer, and ask Him for grace”, that lesson speaks to little hearts in powerful ways. Gratitude and contentment say more than 100 sermons. When Dad says, “We’ve barely got petrol in the tank, but we know God wants us to worship Him. We’ll trust that God will enable what He commands.” And do you know what God loves to do when those little eyes are watching that act of ultimate dependence? Provide. Supply. Protect.

When the child is groaning about a sore throat on Monday morning, and Dad says, “Get out of that bed, and get ready, you are going to school!”, he is teaching the importance of education. But when the child has the same groans about a sore throat on Sunday morning, and Dad says, “Well, just take it easy and rest this morning,” he has taught something else. He has taught that education takes priority over worship. He has taught that our devotion to education ought to exceed our devotion to God.

When Mom will drive from this side of the city for swimming to that side of the city for tennis or ballet, to the other side for extra maths, and back again for soccer, and finally home, racking up a good 100 kilometres in the process, the child might learn that Mom and Dad like him to have activities. But when they say, “We can’t go to the Wednesday Evening service, it’s too much driving, and petrol is getting more expensive”, he learns about priorities. Petrol costs and driving time aren’t an issue if it is extra-murals or education, but very high hurdles if it is church. He has just learned how committed one should be to God, and it is not an ultimate commitment.

Children know what we love. They see it when our eyes sparkle when we talk about what delights us. They see how we anticipate the things we really love. They see how we reminisce over the things we love. And they see how we connect those things to God, if we do. They see what our attitude is towards the things of God.

If Dad’s sighing heavily as everyone gets in the car on Sunday, but he’s cheerfully buoyant before the start of a rugby game on TV, he communicates which brings more joy. If Mom is humming away while she copies photos to Facebook and makes scrap-book albums, but looks like she’s eaten lemons during the singing of hymns, she communicates what brings her joy.

And make no mistake, those little eyes are on you in corporate worship – do you enjoy and understand those hymns, or do you just mouth them? Do you love God’s Word and read it with hunger? Do you communicate your relish for the Word before and after? They notice when you’re soaking in the Word, and they notice when you’re looking at your watch. And later on, they might remember that you don’t do that during a movie.

Before we tell them so, we show our children what we think is reliable, valuable and desirable.  God says there is only One who deserves that kind of love. That should be the day-in, day-out message of our homes.

Five Great Promises As I Travel this Life (Isaiah 41:10)

The Moon over Cascais, Portugal: Photo by Mark J. Booth
The Moon over Cascais, Portugal: Photo by Mark J. Booth

Growing up my Dad gave me a love for travel. Every year, we would plan and then execute a trip. One year we went to the New England states. The next year, we went down to Tennessee and then to New Orleans. Another year, we travelled to the Grand Canyon.  Every trip had its difficulties, but I don’t regret any of our travels. These trips gave me an opportunity to learn new things and enjoy new experiences.

Our life on this earth is also one great journey. Our journey begins at birth and continues unto death. We may encounter different experiences and roads in our journey. We will face joys and heartaches, pain and pleasures, companionship and loneliness. However, this journey is not to be travelled alone. Where will we find help in the difficulties of our journey?

God gives to His children (those who believe on Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior) five great promises to help us in our journey. God’s promises are only effective in our lives when we believe them and act upon them. The road ahead is unknown, but if we know God and His promises, we will successfully navigate the road ahead of us.

God’s promises are seen in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for 1) I am with thee: be not dismayed; 2) for I am thy God: 3) I will strengthen thee; yea, 4) I will help thee; yea,5) I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” 

1, When I am lonely, God promises his presence. God will never leave me. “I am with thee.” 

One of the most lonely experiences in life is at the airport. There are people everywhere and yet you are all alone. Everybody is hurrying to catch their flight, sleeping, or catching up on their reading. No one seems to care about others.

Life is much the same way. Everybody gets caught up with what they are doing. No one seems to care. We face our trials alone. We face our heartaches alone. We face our decisions alone. Does anybody care? Yes! God assures His children that He will never leave us. He is walking life’s journey with us. He will guide us when we are making decisions. He comfort us when we have sorrow. He will give us the strength to endure our trials. God’s presence enables us to continue on our journey with confidence, hope and joy.

2. When I am discouraged, God promises a personal relationship with Him. “For I am thy God.” 

 Discouragement means that we have lost heart. In the midst of our journey, we just want to quit everything. We may want to quit our walk with God. We may want to quit serving God. We may want to quit our work or even our family.

God knows how His child can easily lose heart in the difficult times of life. He assures us that we will always belong to Him. Our circumstances may change. We may change, but God will always be Our God. He will always be Our Father. He will always take a personal interest in our lives. He will encourage our hearts through the most trying times by saying to us: “I will always be your Father. I am going to get you through this. Trust me no matter how dark the journey may seem. I will bring light to this darkness.”

3. When I am weak and feel that I can’t continue, He will strengthen me. “I will strengthen thee.” 

Life is much like a race. There are times when we feel strong and then there are other times when we feel as though we can’t do any more. We have nothing left in us spiritually, emotionally or physically. We just can’t go any further. However, our Heavenly Father gives us His strength to continue on. Paul understood this when he said: “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) When we feel that we can’t go any further, we can always lean hard on His Everlasting Arms. He will carry us.

4. When I am in need of spiritual, emotional or physical help, He will help me. “I will help thee.” 

In my travels, I occasionally find myself lost. I don’t know where I am and I don’t where I am going. My natural response is to try to resolve my situation on my own. This only makes the problem worse. I lose time and become even more lost than before.

Likewise, we often find ourselves needing help in our journey of life. However, pride keeps us from calling out to God. We want to resolve the difficulty ourselves. David, the Psalmist, understood the need to call out to God when he said: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6)

We may think that our problem is insignificant to God. Perhaps, we think that God isn’t interested in us. God is our Father! He does want to help us, because He knows that His children need help every day. When we need help, we must never hesitate to run to the waiting arms of Our Heavenly Father. He will never hesitate to help us.

5. When I stumble or fall, He will pick me up. “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Many years ago, I experienced my first car accident.  I don’t know how it happened, but it did. The front of car was totally smashed. The car looked as though it would never be driven again. However, I had the car taken to a body shop and after two weeks time, it looked as though the accident had never occurred.

In our life’s journey, we also have accidents. Most of these accidents are self-inflicted because of our sin. We have fallen in a ditch filled with guilt, pain, and sorrow. How can we get out? God assures us that when temptations come, He is there to bring deliverance. When we sin, He assures us of His forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“Dear Lord, I thank you for my great salvation through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank you for this journey called life. Yes, I have experienced loneliness, pain, weakness, and discouragement; yet you have always been there with me each step of the way. You have brought joy in my sorrow. You have brought encouragement in my times of discouragement. You have brought hope in my despair. You have brought strength in my weakness.  I have cried out to you, and you have answered. Thank you for taking a personal interest in my life’s journey. May I always glorify you each step of the way. Amen.”

God: The Lifter Up of My Soul (Psalm 3)

The Canadian Rockies (Photo by Mark J. Booth)
The Canadian Rockies (Photo by Mark J. Booth)

Hurt and discouragement are realities in every person’s life. We have felt the painful arrow of someone’s words. We have experienced being misunderstood or betrayed.  Discouragement settles into our lives as an unwelcomed guest. Even our friends can do nothing to relieve us of our painful hearts. We don’t know where to turn.

King David had these very same experiences in his life. He had enemies who were out to get him. His few remaining friends pushed him into a deeper despair by saying that God had abandoned him. He shares his experience in Psalm 3. This Psalm begins with David expressing the helplessness of his soul: “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.” (Psalm 3:1-2)

The words: “There is no help for him in God.” cry out for an answer. We have all faced discouragement because of circumstances, people who don’t like us, and our own actions. However, when those who are closest to us give up hope for us, what are we to do? We often crawl into our shell and nurse our broken heart alone.

In the midst of the darkness of his soul, David looks up to God. Has God abandoned him?  No! He finds his hope and encouragement once again in God. He reaffirms his faith and trust in God: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3)

  1. God is his protector (shield) in spite of his enemies.
  2. God will be glorified, in spite of his circumstances.
  3. God will lift up his soul unto joy and encouragement in spite of his despair.

After David reaffirms his trust in God, he then cries out for God to act in his behalf. “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah” (Psalm 3:4) God is waiting for us to cry out to Him. Our Heavenly Father knows all about our enemies, pain, trials, and discouragement; however, He chooses to wait until we humble ourselves before Him. Our crying out to Him is saying: “Lord, I have no where else to turn. I desperately need you. Please come and deliver me.” God will hear our cry and respond.

David’s situation has yet to change, but he has changed. He knows that God is working everything for His glory. David no longer faces sleepless nights turning his bed. “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” (Psalm 3:5) We don’t have to lie awake at night worrying about our enemies, future and tribulations. Sleep comes when we remember that the Lord is our shield. Nothing can enter our lives that doesn’t first pass through his loving presence.

The dread of each day would no longer be a part of David’s life. “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” (Psalm 3:6) We don’t have to wake up in the morning filled with fear of what will happen. God is in control. He is the One who restores our confidence and hope. Each day is a new opportunity to bring glory to God who has lifted up our soul

David concludes with confidence that God will show His justice upon his enemies. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone;thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” (Psalm 3:7) When we turn to God, we are free to allow Him to deal with those who have committed evil, whether it be against us, or others. We are free from bitterness when we commit them completely to the justice of God.

Turning to God has caused a transformation in David’s life.  In the beginning of the Psalm, David’s soul is downcast and hopeless, but at the end of the Psalm, he proclaims that he is greatly blessed by God. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” (Psalm 3:8)

God transforms our despair into joy, peace, comfort, courage and blessing. God’s ears are always open to our cry. Are we ready to cry out to Him?

“Dear Lord, I have a heavy heart. My life seems hopeless. Those around me say that I am beyond your help. Yet, I know that you hear my cry unto you. Your Word tells me that you are my Protector. Help me to hide behind your shield. Give me the grace to live for your glory. Thank you for lifting up my soul no matter how low it may go. You alone can restore my hope, my joy, my courage, and my purpose in life. Thank you for hearing not only my cry, but the deepest sighs of my soul that I can’t express outwardly. Amen.”

Remembering the Love of God (The Parable of the Prodigal Son)

The Return of the Prodigal Son by: Liz Lemon Swindle (Used with Permission) If you are interested in her paintings her webpage is: www.lizlemonswindle.org
The Hope of Every Parent. Painting by Liz Lemon Swindle (Used with Permission) If you are interested in her paintings, her webpage is: http://www.lizlemonswindle.org

“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)

One of the most beautiful stories in the Word of God is the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  We enjoy reading this parable because it is a great reminder of God’s unfailing love. We may say in our hearts: “I would never do what this son did with his life.” However, on further investigation, we may see a bit of ourselves in the Prodigal Son.

In the beginning of this parable, we see the younger son asking his father for his inheritance. This seems like a very strange request because the father is still alive. However, it shows that the son is insensitive to the feelings of his father.  He is basically saying; “I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I wish you were dead.”

In our lives there are times, when we also act as though we don’t want to have anything to with God. We make plans without consulting God. We seek to please ourselves above all else. We are happy to have a place in heaven, but we are reluctant to allow the Lord to rule our hearts.

After the son receives his money, he leaves his father and family and goes his own way.  He spends his money on all sorts of sinful activities. He has no interest in the things of heaven. His focus is purely on sinful pleasure. He has no thoughts of his father.

Like the Prodigal Son, we find it easy to have an earthly focus in this life. The world becomes all important to us. The getting of money becomes more important than seeking the true riches of God’s Word. Seeking our comfort becomes more important than seeking the glory of God. Paul tells the believers at Colossae. “Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

After the Prodigal Son loses all of his money, he makes another drastic error. This is the time that he should immediately return to his father; however, he tries to get out of his mess by his own effort.  He soon takes the lowest of all jobs. He tends to the pigs. His humiliation is complete. He finds that the his downward spiral has hit the end.

When we find ourselves at the end of our rope. How do we respond? Do we try to resolve the situation with our own effort? Do we just quit on life and become filled with despair? Yes, we have sinned.  Yes, we have failed God, but must we go to the very bottom? Do we know that our loving Heavenly Father is waiting for us to return?

The parable takes a sudden turn when Jesus says: “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19)

The Prodigal Son has finally seen the reality of his situation. He sees that his only hope is to return to his father and confess his sin. His past flashes through his eyes. His regrets are real; yet he moves from despair to hope as travels the long distance back to his father.

Have we travelled a great distance from our Father? Have we turned our back on God’s love, mercy, peace and grace. Is our present situation filled with despair? Like the Prodigal Son, we can return to our Father. We know He loves us in spite of our sins and failures. He is waiting for us to repent of our sin.

As the son approaches his father, we see one of the most touching scenes in the Word of God. Jesus says: “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) The father pours out his love upon his son. The father’s love is greater than his son’s sin. He instantly forgives his son. The relationship is restored.

Our Heavenly Father also waits for us to return to Him. His arms are open. His heart is ready to receive us again. Yes, we don’t deserve this love, but God’s love, like all of His attributes, is infinite. Will we, like the Prodigal Son, “come to ourself” and return to our Father?

“Dear Father, like the Prodigal Son, I often neglect you and do things that don’t please. When I try to deal with my problems, I fail. I have the tendency to have an earthly focus and I don’t concentrate on my relationship with you. I do want to return to you. Please break my pride; so that I will flee back into you loving arms.”

The Reasons Why We Deserve God’s Love

Winter Sunset in Wyoming (Photo by: Deanna Maston)
Winter Sunset in Wyoming (Photo by: Deanna Maston)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

When I was young, I remember a song that had the following words: “What the world needs now is love sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” This song expresses the search for love that is part of each person’s life.

Where do we find love? What can we do to receive love? The Word of God makes it clear that love begins with God, continues with God, and ends with God. He is the source of love. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins.

The love of God is real. We see that His love is a perfect love that desires to see change in our lives. He wants us to go from being dead in our trespasses and sins to having eternal life. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Deep down, we feel that we deserve God’s love. We demonstrate this when we complain during the difficult times in our lives. We may say of God: “If God is a God of love why did He allow this.” We feel we are deserving of God’s love and he has failed to love us. Do we deserve God’s love?  Here are several reasons why we deserve God’s love.

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“Dear Lord, I come before you in all brokenness and humility because I know that I don’t deserve your love. Your love for me is based on all that you are. I deserve nothing but your wrath because of my sin before you. Yet, you have loved me with an everlasting love. I don’t understand your love, but I thank you for it. I thank you that I can call you “Father” because you brought me to a saving knowledge of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Please help me never take your love for granted. Amen”

Have we accepted God’s love? Have we come to Him realizing we don’t deserve His love? He has His hands of love outstretched towards us. Will we accept His offer of love today? This love is expressed in an old hymn. The words abound with the sacrificial nature of God’s love for us.

“WHY SHOULD HE LOVE ME SO?” By Robert Harkness

1.Love sent my savior to die in my stead;
Why should He love me so?
Meekly to Calvary’s cross He was led;
Why should He love me so?

2.Nails pierced His hands and His feet for my sin;
Why should He love me so?
He suffered sore my salvation to win;
Why should He love me so?

3.O how He agonized there in my place;
Why should He love me so?
Nothing withholding my sin to efface;
Why should He love me so?

Chorus: Why should He love me so?
               Why should He love me so?
               Why should my Savior to Calvary go?
               Why should He love me so?

Lord, I Believe, Help My Unbelief

Cabo da Roca, Portugal (Photo by Mark J. Booth)
Cabo da Roca, Portugal (Photo by Mark J. Booth)

Why do I find it difficult to believe in the person and promises of God?  Yes, I believe in my head, but my heart has a lack of complete trust in Him. Recently, God brought this to my attention while reading the account of the man whose child had an unclean spirit.

“And he said, Of a child.And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:22-24)

The father is in a desperate situation. He has no hope for his son; however, he pleads with Jesus that if He can help, please do something for his child. Jesus catches the doubt in this man’s heart as he said: “If thou canst do anything.” This man was speaking to God in the flesh; and yet doubted His ability to heal his child.

I have fallen into this same trap. I believe in who the Lord is, but deep down, I don’t think, He is able to do what seems impossible to me. I can’t see how he can save a loved one. I don’t see how He can change a person’s life. I don’t see how He can help me in a very difficult situation.

After the man speaks, Jesus encourages him to have faith: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Jesus is saying that there is nothing too hard for Him. How often, I have looked at circumstances, at others or at myself, and felt overwhelmed. My heart says: “Can God handle this?” Doubt brings torment. Yes, I know in my head that God is All-Powerful, but doubt fills my heart. James says that “A doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)

In this story, God speaks to my doubting heart. He is saying: “Don’t look at the difficulty in front of you, but look to me. I am God. I am All-Powerful. I know what I am doing. I do have compassion upon you. Your mind says you can trust me, let your heart trust me as well.”

The man responds in tears with words that resonate in my heart: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” These words could come right from mine own mouth.  At times, my head says: “I believe.” However, my heart says: “I can’t believe”. God wants me to be open about my doubts; so that He can change my heart into a heart that believes in all that He is and all that He says.

I am not the only person who is double minded when it comes to trusting the Lord. The disciples once came to Jesus and made this important request: “Increase our faith”. They saw their need in light of their doubts that were overwhelming their hearts. Likewise, I need to constantly pray with the disciples: “Lord, increase my faith.”

In the end, Christ honors the man’s wavering faith and heals his son. This man’s struggle with doubt brought him to a greater faith in Christ. His struggle also helps me to see that Christ understands my struggle with trusting Him with my heart. There is great peace, comfort, and strength when I trust Him with both my mind and my heart.

“Dear Lord, I believe in all that you are in my mind. I know in my mind that you are All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Wise, and All-Loving. I believe your Word from Genesis to Revelation. I believe in the miracles that you have done. However, when times get tough, when people don’t seem to respond to you, I begin to doubt in my heart. Please forgive me for my unbelief.  Bring me to a belief not only in my head, but also in my heart. Thank you for your patience in all that you are doing in my life. Amen.”