The Struggle: Battling Unbelief
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. - Psalm 42:11
As I sat in my car reading this verse, my eyes filled with tears. "I don’t understand why I feel this way", I thought to myself. How is that I can have so much faith in God’s plan for my life and still struggle with a great amount of fear, doubt and worry? My spirit believes, but there are doubts in mind and fear in heart trying to convince me that this won't work out, it's not going happen for me, it's my fault, and I'm not good enough.
King David ( the author of Psalm 42) understood. He was able to recognize that the struggle going on inside of Him was spiritual.
Paul describes it in Romans 7:21-23
"So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. "
Lately, this has been my biggest struggle. There are days, weeks even, when I feel terribly discouraged.
I know that God is working all things together for my Good according to his purpose. I trust He will give me the desires of my heart as I seek Him. I've seen prayers from years ago answered in ways that astonish me and remind me of how good and faithful He is. Nevertheless, I’m still learning how to fight these battles.
I remember hearing a sermon (I can’t remember what the topic was) about a story in the book of Mark. It was about a father who wanted Jesus to heal his son. As the father was telling Jesus about his son’s condition he concluded with, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “‘If you can?” “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (from Mark 17-24).
I love how the father took Jesus at His word, immediately proclaimed his belief, and then asked for help to overcome his unbelief. It's so...human.
It’s a beautiful reminder that we don't sustain our own faith; it is a gift from God. God is the author and perfecter of our faith. We’re not going to overcome our struggles or win any battles by simply attending church, memorizing more scriptures, or listening to sermons that offer 5 steps to overcoming temptation, fear, doubt, etc...
The only way to effectively fight is to surrender.
We must give our self (heart and mind) to God, profess what we know is true based on His word, and ask Him for help to live it out. Then He will transform us from the inside out, us to endure and overcome every battle.
So I did just that. As I sat in my car I prayed similarly to king David and the father in story. I didn't recite a beautifully constructed prayer filled with memorized scriptures, instead it was simple and raw. I told God how greatly I want to believe the promises He’s given me and how difficult it’s proving to be. Then I asked God to help me believe it all. It didn't happen all at once, but He answered my prayer.
I don't know what it is you're fighting against or fighting for, but I can assure you that the fight is spiritual and requires a spiritual defense and offense - prayer and the Word of God.
Regardless how long or trying the fight may be, remember that the war has already been won ( John 16:33). So keep pressing on.