How to Overcome Unbelief

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

The father of a sick boy said this to Jesus. I can relate. I’ve been the dad of a sick son, considered the fragility of a young life, and prayed to God for breakthrough. 

But regardless of what led to that statement, I relate to the father’s words. 

I do believe. I have confidence and hope. I am a man of faith. I believe in a personal and good God. I believe I’m here for a purpose and capable of great things. But my belief always seems to be coupled with a degree of doubt and insecurity. 

Fear of failure. Uncertainty. Doubting God’s promises. Doubting my abilities. 

On the basketball court, I had confidence in my craft. I trained and prepared for game time, but I also questioned at times if I belonged.

Post-basketball career, I believe the best is yet to come. I’m learning, gaining experience, and building my skills. But there’s still uncertainty as to how everything will work out. 

As a father, I believe I’m a great dad. I prioritize my family and love being with my kids. But you can be sure I also fear at times that I’m screwing them all up. 

If I could weigh the scales, it’d often measure something like 80% belief, 20% doubt.

Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? What if God doesn’t show up? What if I fail? That’s what my doubt often sounds like. And no matter the percentage, it feels loud.

Whether you’re a person of faith or not, we all believe in something. We all have to muster some type of faith in some moments — saying, “I do.”, launching a business, trusting in a teammate. Much of life is about believing in an unknown outcome.

I love what Mark Batterson says, “Everyone wants a miracle; we just don’t want to be in a situation that necessitates one.” Here’s what I know: I don’t desire to be in danger or distress, but I do want to be in positions that require the Divine to show up. Let me explain: I don’t want to pursue goals that I can obtain on my own. I want to be stretched beyond my abilities. I want to be positioned where God will chisel away at unbelief. 

Before the dad shared his mixed feelings, Jesus had told the father, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” That’s a bold statement!

Maybe I can learn something from the father’s response though. He didn’t say because I doubt, I am an unbeliever. No, he’s still a believer, but he’s just got some trust issues he needs to deal with. He’s honest with himself and God. 

It’s possible for both faith and doubt to coexist. There’s room for both confidence and uncertainty. It’s actually the space I most often find myself in, and I’d bet others do as well. I do trust and have confidence but there’s still some apprehension.

Acknowledging doubt doesn’t disqualify one’s faith. 

Recognize the fear. Ask for help in overcoming it. But don’t stop there. No matter the doubt, remember the truth. God is capable. Therefore, you have what it takes. 

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