Overcoming Unbelief

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

These are the words of a father whose son was possessed by a spirit that robbed him of his speech and often threw him to the ground with seizures and foaming at the mouth.  The disciples tried to drive out the spirit, but could not.  The father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”  Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”   The father cried out in desperation, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of the boy and he was healed.  (Mark 9:14-29)

Belief and faith are something Jesus holds in high esteem.  He often responds to people who have been healed through his prayer and physical touch, “Your faith has healed you.” Yet, we have to sympathize with the father of this boy who has seen his son suffer so much over such a long period of time.  He has some belief or he wouldn’t have asked Jesus to intervene.

Like the father in this story, how often is our belief and faith challenged by a lengthy illness in ourselves or a loved one that continues indefinitely without any sign of improvement, or an addiction in a loved one that no amount of prayer seems to bring under control, or any other challenging circumstance that appears to have no end.  We pray, we fast, we go to church, and we ask friends to intercede.  We read scripture that tells us, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  (Mt. 21:22)

Yet, the illness, the addiction or the circumstance continues.  Doubt starts to creep in and we become fearful that our belief and faith our not adequate. 

Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with an advanced and aggressive form of prostate cancer.  My Gleason score was a nine on a scale of ten, a marker for judging the severity of the cancer. The pathology report from the surgery revealed that the cancer had escaped the prostate and gotten into at least one lymph node.

My wife, our five children and their families and friends prayed for me.  One friend was even so bold as to push his way into the pre-op room and pray over me and the two surgeons.  My surgeon showed me a chart after the surgery that predicted recurrence in five years for someone with my symptoms.  I underwent hormone therapy for three years. My PSA (a measure of the presence of prostate cancer cells) went undetectable for nine years.

A couple of years ago my PSA started to rise gradually and reached the recurrence level early this year.  The last two tests, however, have shown a slight decrease.  While my circumstances have certainly not been as challenging as the father with the possessed son, I must confess to some degree of worry with each bi-monthly PSA test.  Still, I know that I must trust in God who has brought me thus far.

Like the father of the possessed son, I pray, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” 

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most high, who abide in the shadows of the Almighty, say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”  (Psalm 91:1-2)

6 thoughts on “Overcoming Unbelief

  1. Stephen Schildwachter

    Surely He hath borne our griefs (sickness, weakness and pain) and carried all of our sorrows……and by his stripes we are healed…from Isaiah 53 which is confirmed in Matt.
    8.17 and 1 Peter 2.24….Jesus paid the price for Bill’s complete healing, so I rejoice as did
    David in Psalm 103…..bless the lord…..and forget not all his benefits…who heals me from
    all my diseases….all of this bolsters our faith because it is God’s Word…..and I add my prayer
    with all the other saints for Bill complete wellness package…….AMEN……………

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  2. Bart Tesoriero

    Dear Bill, thank you so much for this message. It is so real and honest. Like you, we have situations in our family and friends about which we have been praying for years, and your message encourages me to continue to trust and EXPECT that God will answer, in His time and His way. I will pray for you too, brother, for continued good health.

    God love you!
    Bart

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  3. Jim Savarese

    Bill, Robert to this day now I’m it’s third decade of the effects of alcoholism now affecting his mind and we really can’t help. He has turned from the Lord. Linda and I are on different paths of healing. Fortunately Christ based. If she could let him go I believe he would survive. Your prayers for him and us is appreciated.
    I too have a con tying battle with Prostate cancer. Diagnosed in Jun of 2017. I could not have surgery so we went with radiology and Lipton. I too had an aggressive Gleason at 8. It remained quiet until last December. I am back to Lipton and praying for the best.
    It was great to see your words of encouragement

    God bless you.
    Jim

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    1. Bill Dalgetty Post author

      Jim, I was thinking of you and Robert, among others, when I wrote this. God bless you for your perseverance in prayer all these years and doing what you have to do.

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