Today’s Reading in the Gospels and Devotional
14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 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. 23 -- Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
After speaking one night on my personal testimony of salvation, a very troubled young lady approached me concerned about her soul. She wanted to be saved but had one big obstacle preventing her from receiving Christ, doubts. She said that she had doubts about the Bible, about God and about Jesus. She said that she wished with all of her heart that the doubts would go away, but they just would not leave. So, what did I say? I asked her to give her definition of faith. She said, “faith is not doubting God.” I had to disagree with her definition. I said, “faith is not the absence of doubt, but giving God the benefit of the doubt.”
“Faith is not the absence of doubt, but giving God the benefit of the doubt”
In today’s reading we see a great example of this principle. A concerned father came to Jesus on behalf of his son. The son had an evil spirit preventing him from being able to communicate and ruining the young man’s health. The young man experienced convulsions that threw him to the ground, grinding his teeth and foaming at the mouth. The condition would come upon him at the worst possible times causing him to be burned and nearly drowned. The poor son was wasting away as a prisoner of this awful condition. The father of the boy came seeking help for his son, but his faith was weak. He said, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us”. “If you can…”, are not words we are accustomed to hearing in relation to Christ. The father should have changed his question into a statement. He should have taken away the “if” and just said, “you can...”
I am so thankful Jesus doesn’t deny help from those of us who should have said or done things differently, aren’t you?
Jesus told the man, “if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” That is when the boy’s father made one of the greatest statements of faith in the Bible record. He cried out in desperation, with tears in his eyes, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief”. The man had within him both belief in the capability and compassion of Christ yet he also fought the presence of unbelief. In spite of his doubts, he gave Jesus the benefit of the doubt and the result was answered prayer and the deliverance of his son.
Someone said, “faith steps out on a seeming void and finds a rock beneath!”
The voice in your mind says there is no safe landing spot, the Lord says the rock may be unseen but it is there, faith comes when you take the leap, believing the voice of God over the one in your head. Faith is not the absence of doubt, but giving God the benefit of the doubt! I hate to fly, it scares me to death. Every little bit of turbulence makes my heart skip a beat and yet I get on planes. Why? I have doubts, but I give the pilot and the plane the benefit of the doubt and get on anyway.
If you wait for certainty, the only thing certain is that you will continue to wait!
Today, I ask you to take the leap of faith in the Lord and his sure Word. You will have doubts, I certainly do, but give God the benefit of the doubt. Honor the Lord by trusting him in spite of the uncertainty. You too can say those words, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” Give God the benefit of the doubt!