“Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
I admire this man’s honesty. In one sentence, he proclaims both his willingness and desire to believe and his natural inability to embrace that belief. No one likes to appear faithless, which is perhaps why I didn’t want to write this blog several weeks ago when it was first placed in my heart. Must also be why I’ve found myself here, in the Shadow of Doubt, grappling to know my faith again. Struggling to embrace all the evidence that God is able and willing to answer my heart’s every cry. Here, in the Shadow of Doubt, I long to be on the other side of it. Beyond it.
This much I know about the Shadow of Doubt: It’s a lifeless place. It’s a place where nothing grows. And there are pitfalls of despair: deep, dark holes that cannot be seen, only felt and fallen into. More terrifying than all of that, however, are the demons that lurk there. Demons of fear and bitterness, who whisper into your soul and cause you to doubt all that you’ve ever known to be true. About yourself, your friends, and yes, even about your God. This is no common place of struggle, it’s a desperate place. A place that can only be conquered by surrender. You cannot get out by fighting or crawling, or climbing. You can only escape by looking up into the heavens and screaming out His name: Jesus! Jesus!
And surrendering. Admitting that although you want to believe, there’s something in you that still doubts. Something in you that struggles to believe that you heart’s desire can become reality, and that the God who says He can make it reality really wants to do that for you. Is it weakness to be so skeptical? Yes, I think it is. It must be, because the man who asked the Lord to heal his son also asked the Lord to help him believe it is possible. But 2 Corinthians 12:9 assures us by saying that “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” In other words, when we are weak, He is strong for us. The Lord knows our proclivity to doubt. He understands it. Our prayer then becomes, “Lord, take me beyond this Shadow of Doubt! Take me into the light, into a newness of life, to another level of your glory displayed in my life. Bind every demon of fear and unbelief that seeks to hinder me, remove all bitterness that has tried to take root in me, and renew my faith in both your love and your provisional grace. In your precious and holy name, Amen!”