I’ve always been a bit of a wiggle worm. If you don’t believe me, ask my parents. I drove Mama sideways to silly on Sunday mornings when I tried hard (but miserably failed) to be still in church. And Daddy got to experience his share of my fidgetiness, too. Only, he didn’t call it “fidgeting.” He would say that I have the “I-can’t-help-its.” He would tell me to be still, but I’d drawl, “Daddy, I can’t help it!” No matter what you call it, it’s still the same problem – I can’t be still to save my life.
Sadly, this isn’t just a physical ailment that I have. I also have trouble being still mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Perhaps that explains why one of the hardest phrases in the Bible for me to cope with is, “Only believe.”
Bob Sorge, in his The Fire of Delayed Answers, tells the story from Mark 5, about Jairus’s daughter.
“When they told Jairus of his daughter’s passing, they spoke the word of doubt. ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ Immediately Jesus spoke to Jairus’s heart with the words of faith: ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’ Those are two extremely challenging words: ‘Only believe.’ The Lord commands us to do nothing else but believe. True faith doesn’t have a contingency plan. Faith does only one thing: It only believes.”
I’m good at a lot of things. I can pace ruts into the floor. I can worry myself into complete hysteria. I can make lists of pros and cons. I can strategize and make to-do lists that would put professional organizers to shame. But sitting still and ONLY BELIEVING? That is not a particular gift of mine. I’d rather be the one making things happen than the one sitting and waiting and watching and trusting that things will happen. I somehow – like my Biblical namesake – think that the Lord needs my help. Even though I know that isn’t true.
If somebody were asking me for advice on how to “only believe,” I could come up with some really righteous answers. I would tell them to pray. That each time those worries come to mind, to surrender them to God. I would tell them to seek scriptures, and find a promise in scripture to cling to throughout their difficult situation. I would tell them to count their blessings and focus on all of the good things that God has given them and done for them.
But you know what? Please don’t stone me for heresy, but those things don’t always work for me. Maybe I’m the exception. Maybe they work for the rest of the world. All my life, I’ve heard testimonies from people who do those things and have great success with it. They say, “Oh, I prayed this scripture and the Lord filled me with the most incredible peace!” The problem is, that doesn’t always work for me. In fact, today, it’s not working for me.
So, my friends, you tell me. What works for you? When you’re going through the fire, and you’re struggling to “only believe,” what works for you? What is the thing that helps you find the strength to “only believe”?
This post is part of a weekly discussion on Bob Sorge’s book, The Fire of Delayed Answers. You don’t have to read the book to join in on the discussion! If you did write a response to this chapter, jump on over to my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s place, to link it up at the widget.