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  • Writer's pictureKemi Kodja

Overcoming Unbelief and Doubt

Having faith in God can be a shaky journey. There are times when it’s easy to believe in the goodness of God, in His faithfulness, in His miraculous healing power, and in His ability to make a way when there seems to be no way. And then… there are times when you struggle to muster up even a mustard seed-sized amount of faith (Matthew 17:20). During those times, believing in God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His ability to move in your life becomes really hard.

In Mark 9:14-29, we see the story of a father who brings his son to Jesus and His disciples for healing. When he first arrives, Jesus isn’t there, and the disciples attempt to deliver his son from the evil spirit tormenting him, but they are not able to do so. It’s not clear how many times they attempted to heal him until Jesus arrived, but you can sense the father’s faith starting to dwindle with each failed attempt to heal his son. The disappointment in his voice is evident in verse 18 when he says:

"... I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not" (Mark 9:18).

Does that sound familiar?

Have you been asking God for something lately?

Diligently praying and taking the steps of faith that you feel called to?

And yet… you’ve faced disappointment after disappointment that has left you questioning whether the thing you’re praying for will happen after all. 

If that's you, you’re not alone.

Just like the father in this story, many of us are going through trials, hoping to see God turn things around. But the longer we wait for God to move, the easier it is for disappointment and hopelessness to set in. 

This is where we find the father of the demon-possessed boy in this story. He initially took that first step of faith by bringing his son to Jesus and His disciples. He was probably filled with hope as he heard stories of how they had healed others and believed wholeheartedly that his son would be healed too. But after witnessing the disciples’ inability to drive out the spirit, he is now doubting whether it’s possible after all for his son to get healed. You can tell he is losing hope in the way he asks Jesus:

“... If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22).

“If you can do anything….” 

You can tell he doesn’t believe anymore. He is no longer full of hope; doubts have taken over. If this is where you are too, then take a look at what Jesus told him next:

“If I can?... Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

I know it sounds like a slap in the face to be told “all you have to do is believe”, especially when you started out that way. But let the father’s response be your prayer in moments when you feel your doubts overshadowing your belief in God:

“Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Overcoming unbelief is hard, especially after you’ve dealt with disappointment after disappointment that has just shattered your faith. But I believe if you take your disappointment to God and ask for His help overcoming your unbelief, He will assist you. It will not happen overnight, but keep repeating this prayer until you’ve overcome your unbelief:

“Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

This story ends with the father witnessing the miraculous healing of his son by Jesus (Mark 9:25-27), but more than receiving healing for his son, this father received renewed hope and belief in God. I pray this encourages you to hold onto your faith and belief in God, trusting that one day, you too will see Him move in your life and answer the prayer you’ve been waiting on Him to answer.


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