Called to Believe

Belief happens when information merges with intent and passion. Good teachers believe they will positively impact the lives of their students. Good lawyers believe that the law given in our Constitution works for the benefit of society. Good law enforcement officials believe that the risk they take to protect citizens is worth it. Good citizens believe that right and wrong transcend legal and illegal.

Belief is more than just accumulation of information. I am aware of information that sometimes has absolutely no impact on my thoughts or behavior. I am aware that driving too fast in rain or snow is dangerous, but sometimes I’m in a hurry. I am aware that more exercise and fewer calories will make me healthier, but relaxing is easier and sugar and fat usually taste better. I am aware that Christians who spend intentional time communicating with God know the peace of his presence and see evidence of his glory, but sometimes I’m busy with other things. When what I believe about my health or safety or righteousness becomes more important than what I want or what is easy, that information becomes action.

The next step you take toward God will begin with belief, whether you’re seeking him for the first time or whether you’ve known him for a whole lifetime. Before God gave Abraham children in his old age or tested him with Isaac, before circumcision, before the covenant, Abraham chose to believe God (Gen 15:6) , and that began his amazing story with God. Thomas was brokenhearted when the Lord he believed in died on the cross because he believed that Jesus’ death was the end of the story. The resurrected Jesus saw his pain and showed him his scars, and said to him in John 20:29 “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

God doesn’t ask us to begin our story with him by accomplishing great feats of valor or performing mighty miracles. He asks us to start by believing he is who he says he is. Believe that God can, even if you can’t. Believe that God sees you, even when you don’t see him. Believe that he loves you personally and has a plan for your life that is far greater than anything you can dream up for yourself. The Bible, beginning to end, is full of the accounts of people who chose to believe him, and knew relationship with him, right here on earth. The Bible was preserved for you so that you can be inspired by its words to believe for yourself.

God knows our frailty. He knows that our struggles sometime make it hard to see him. He knows that the world demands our attention, and Satan is dedicated to our destruction. He knows that even our best motivation and intentions can be crushed by fear and doubt.

There is one story in the Bible that God gave us just for the times when believing is hard. It has become one of my “go to” verses. In Mark 9 the father of a boy who probably had severe seizures came to Jesus and said, “If you can do anything, take pity on him and help us.” That is hardly a rousing declaration of faith, but Jesus’ response was to remind him that “Everything is possible for those who believe.” The father, wearied by fear for his son’s safety and crushed by hope that was dying said to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” And there it is. Jesus healed the son and the father with one miracle. The God who requires that we believe he is who he says he is will help us take that step toward belief.

Maybe today you need to choose to believe God for your next step, or maybe you need to pray this father’s prayer before you can find that step. God does not change, but your perspective will as you choose to believe him.