Abby (age 8) is at that age where she wants to believe in Santa, but she has her doubts. So this year, she’s decided to put Santa to the test. It’s simple. She wants purple Nike tennis shoes. But the manufacturer doesn’t make her size. So she’s asking Santa to step in and make it happen.
In her words, “I’ve decided I’m going to see if Santa can do it. I’m going to ask him to make the purple shoes in my size. If he doesn’t bring them, I’ll just have to get a different pair after Christmas.”
In other words, I’m not really sure if Santa exists. If he does, he will make the shoes. I want to believe, but I just don’t know.
It’s a perfect picture of conflicted faith.
We want to believe, but our circumstances seem impossible. And like Abby, we’re conflicted. In the same breath, we tell God we believe but we really don’t believe. How can we possibly overcome our unbelief when we can’t even make up our minds? So we find ourselves praying conflicted prayers.
I used to feel guilty praying in the midst of my doubt. I used to think it was all or nothing. Doubt or faith. How can the two possibly coexist? Then I read about the young father who asks Jesus to heal his son. In the words of a desperate man who is wrestling with doubt, he tells Jesus:
“I do believe. Help me with my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
Thank God – I’m not alone! The young father shows us it’s normal to be conflicted. That doubt and faith often go hand and hand. He also shows us that we can pray for faith in the midst of our unbelief.
And Jesus shows us that he is not limited by doubt. He is not surprised by the young father’s conflicted prayer, and he heals the son, despite the father’s unbelief.
Like the young father, I often find myself praying a conflicted prayer. My motives are mixed and my faith is weak. I want to believe, especially at Christmas, but some days it’s really hard. I want those purple tennis shoes, and I just can’t find them in my size! Is God really out there? And how am I supposed to believe in him for the big things when I can’t even trust him for something little?
I want to believe God, but sometimes it’s hard. I live in a conflicted state, and I need your help. Like the young father asking Jesus to heal his son, I confess, “I do believe. Help me with my unbelief.”
Are you struggling to believe this Christmas? Have you asked God to help you with your unbelief?
Need some gift ideas? Check out these great books by several women I know and admire:
Expect To Win, by Carla Harris
Faith Powered Profession, by Elizabeth Knox
Work Love Pray, by Diane Paddison
(And, if anyone knows where I can get size 1 1/2 Nike purple tennis shoes, I’d be most grateful!)