In our current culture, there are many conversations about ‘The Power of Believing’. From modern gurus like Tony Robbins and Jay Shetty, we are not short of online courses or podcasts that offer us ways of transforming our lives through the power of belief.
As helpful as some of these resources are for many people, I cannot help but feel that there is an increased pressure placed on humans to conjure up belief inside of themselves, no matter the circumstance.
Whilst mindset is essential, much evidence suggests that what you believe is possible impacts your ability to access the things you want for and in your life. The narrative proclaiming that belief starts and finishes with you, and you must find it within yourself, is only sometimes helpful. Sometimes, this narrative can even be damaging to the weary and hopeless soul. Thankfully in the Bible, we find accounts of Jesus’ interactions with humanity that give us a much more balanced perspective on the relationship between our belief and the transformation of our seasons of difficulty, pain, and loss.
Much like the other gospels, we have many accounts of Jesus performing transformative miracles in the Gospel of Mark. However, in Mark, there is a notable importance placed on the connection between belief and Jesus’ action. On several occasions, Jesus scolds the disciples and the crowds for not believing enough for a miracle. Mark 6:5-6 goes as far as to say, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” It is important not to conclude that someone might be sick (physically or mentally) because they do not have enough belief. However, it is a strong statement that suggests that our belief plays a vital role in the execution of miracles, including healing. But the Gospel of Mark doesn’t leave us feeling that our belief is the ultimate genesis of miracles. This gospel includes one of the most straightforward texts in the Bible and a prayer that I have prayed many times over. In the account of the healing of ‘The Boy with a Spirit’, Mark 9:14-29, we find a father desperate to see his son healed from a spirit that has destroyed his life since childhood. With his belief bucket thoroughly empty, he says to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!”. This honest expression of his lack of belief, accompanied by his acknowledgement that only Jesus could help him gain belief again, causes Jesus to act.
Jesus understands the tensions that lie in the human heart. We desperately want to believe that our difficult circumstances can change, but sometimes life hits us so hard that it is almost impossible to believe. When we find ourselves here, all Jesus wants us to do is rest in His grace and ask him for the ability to believe in Him again.
Jesus is the Genesis of our belief.
Pastor Lorraine Fontaine ministers for the London Live and Kennington churches