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Lord, Help My Unbelief!

My head knew God loved Jimmy even more than I did, but my heart was unconvinced.

Vines dripping from a tree in the fog with a cross in the background

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Funerals are never easy, but that’s especially true when it’s a young person who has passed away. While my son was in Iraq, a buddy of his was killed in a car accident. I knew Jimmy would have wanted to attend, so I decided it was important for me to go in his stead.

I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. The moment I caught sight of that grieving mother, her pain became mine. All I could think about was, What if I had to plan my son’s funeral? Suddenly the danger of where he was and what could happen engulfed me. I refused to let myself leave in the middle of the service, but every second I stayed was a fight to keep the panic at bay. As soon as the service ended, I fled to the safety of my home and locked myself in my bedroom.

As I sobbed, I poured out my heart to God. I begged him to keep my son safe. I knew God loved Jimmy even more than I did–at least my head knew that–but my heart was unconvinced. I wrestled with the division between my heart and my head, trying to find peace.

As I lay there, the above verse in Mark came to my mind. I quoted it over and over, begging for God to calm my fears. The more I spoke it aloud, the more it began to invade my soul.

Finally, when the tears abated, I realized the truth of this verse. We are a people divided, conflicted even. And it’s only with God’s intervention that we can focus on the truth. God loves each of us more than any human can. He can be trusted with the lives of those who mean the most to each of us.

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