Someone long ago, in Christ’s presence, longingly, perhaps desperately, pleaded, “Lord help my unbelief!”
It is likely that many of us know, or have known of someone who has expressed something similar. Perhaps with different words, but the meaning and emotions are the same.
Most of us who do believe in Jesus Christ for Who He was, is, and is doing long to see the day when friends, acquaintances, and loved ones will turn to Him for their only hope of eternal life. But the painful truth is, their ability to come to that kind of heart change involves something outside of their - or our - control. There must first be a drawing by the Father of a person to His Son. Believing is initiated by God the Father (John 6:44). That is the starting point for all whose belief unto salvation is genuine. For all of us.
This writer is familiar with someone who has expressed, in almost a desperate manner, the desire to believe. But although desperately desiring to believe, belief just has not become real. Its like the expression “wanting to want to want”. But belief just will not come forth. Faith is a gift from God. There is the gift of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, the scriptures affirm (Hebrews 11:6). Faith and belief are very close synonyms. This being so, it is also impossible to please God without genuine belief. We as Christians cannot resist and overcome the world without the faith that God in Christ gives to us (1 John 5:4 ).
And yet, faith - and belief - must be initiated first by God for our salvation. God is the Author of salvation and eternal life. So it must be His faith and His belief that is graciously granted to anyone for the gift of living forever. The Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith when He instructed them to forgive others (Luke 17:1-5).
There is also the phenomenon where one may have no desire whatsoever to believe in Christ as their Savior, or God, or even religion in general. They could not care less about any such things. This is the case most of the time where family history and/or personal experiences completely block out any perceived desire, need, or interest for such things. They seem completely content to be unfamiliar with anything relating to “life after death”. There are a variety of methods for dealing with such subjects if they come up, the most popular seems to be the “when your dead, your dead” response. “Lets us drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die…” (1 Corinthians 15:32).
All this is particularly discouraging and heartbreaking for the love ones of such as these. To contemplate someone greatly loved, or even respected in many ways, as experiencing eternal death, and never seeing them again, can be a very heavy cross to bare.
So what can we do?
What can we as Christians do, when God has not as yet granted the unbelieving belief?
First, we must never stop praying for them. Whether our prayers move God, or God moves our prayers, does not matter. Intercessory prayer aligns our will with God’s will, but God often changes His mind because of heartfelt prayer. He has more than one way, or one time frame, to bring someone to repentance and saving belief (James 5:16). We must love and pray for all who are in either of the categories above. We must never cease to pray for them.
Secondly, we must be extremely careful to be a bright light of example. Just a careless word spoken in the wrong way, or at the wrong time can be a stumbling block to someone’s salvation. This is especially important when relating to those new in the faith (Mark 9:42). Be such an example that those in either category mentioned above will be able to say to you, “Please…help my unbelief!”
This is the responsibility of all who do believe.
Perhaps some glorious day they will say to you: “thank you…for not giving up on me!”
“And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes! At once the father of the boy gave an eager, [piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!” - Mark 9:23-24 (AmpBible)
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