“Only Believe”

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. 

About Sarah Salter


  1. You ain’t gonna believe my answer to your question…and that its people like you that God sends to tell me what I need to do or not to do or when I should do.. That’s what helps me.. And I know that God doesn’t need my help either…but I too sometimes think I have to put feet to my prayers in addition to “only believing”.. Well that’s my answer for the evening.. And you know for me to write this paragraph, lol.. well you know me.. Love ya..Thank you for being who you are.

  2. I have to surrender. Sometimes it takes me a while to do.

    All my worries and frets and pacings aren’t because I do not believe… it’s more because I want to be in control of the outcome. I want it my way.

    When I surrender, I come to a place where I accept my way is not what is important and that God knows exactly what is needed.

  3. Girl, how I identify with the scripture…I believe, help my unbelief. I have prayed that so many times! So I hear what you are saying. It is hard to release control and just rest, and all that good advice that people give, and that we give to others when we are struggling with “only believing”, IS good advice.

    BUT, I think another piece of good advice is to do those things, but to also know that you are going to get tired or restless in battle. That is when we need, like Moses needed Aaron and Hur, people on either side of us to hold up our arms and help us to stand strong. Seek out those people who you know will hold up your arms for you and encourage you. I will be on one side when you need me…heck! I’ll stand behind you and hold both arms up if I need to! Love you, dear sistah!

  4. Sarah you sounds so much like me. I said in my post that I like to have back up plans FOR my back up plans.
    Waiting and trusting don’t come easy for me…which is why God is working so hard on me this year. He’s teaching me how to Depend upon Him. This means He has allowed me to feel like an outcast at times, to be lonely and feeling like the only one I can turn to is Him. He has put me in some tough situations this year until all I can do is cry out.

    Like you, I’ve tried all of the “go-to” answers and sometimes they work but sometimes they don’t. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I have to accept that sometimes the worst will happen and that I can’t control everything.

    One thing God is teaching me is to reflect on His past faithfulness and goodness. If He didn’t let me down then, what makes me thing He will let me down now?

    Hope all that rambling somehow helps, even if it’s just in knowing you’re not alone.

  5. You are so right. When we try to oversimplify things and say “you just need to do this” or whatever, we get so discouraged. Now when that instruction comes from Him, it’s different. Like you said, it may not bring immediate peace, but His word has never been without effect in my life. Sometimes I like the effect immediately and sometimes I like it later. 🙂 Good, honest post, Sarah. Nothing wrong with that! Thanks.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, it’s hard to be out of control, even though I know He does a WAY better job than I do. But surrender takes a LOT of practice… Good thing I’m getting some. 🙂

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Joell, I have prayed that very thing — “I believe, help my unbelief.” And I know He does help. Is helping. I’m just too impatient, I guess. 🙂

    You speak the truth, Sister! We have to have good support! Thank you for being part of my support! You are much loved! 🙂

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    TC, that was precious counsel and not rambling, at all! I struggle with not being able to see “the map.” I mean, God says it’s all going to be okay. That I have a promised land waiting for me. But I want to see the map. The very detailed map. And He doesn’t give me the option of looking at it, because if He did, I wouldn’t have to trust Him. But daggone it! It’s hard! 🙂

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I like having a formula. Do A + B + C and you will overcome in X amount of time. But it doesn’t work like that. And sometimes, that’s rather frustrating. But you have a very good point that sometimes we have to WAIT for the fulfillment of His Word. Okay. I can live with that. (But I may whine just a little along the way.) 🙂

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