Not so terribly long ago, I shared with you another hidden prayer…this one found in Mark 9:24:
“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!””
It entered my mind to expand on that a little. Have you ever stopped to consider what this fellow is saying to Jesus? He’s saying, “Lord, I believe…but help me to KNOW!”
What’s the difference? Allow me to revert to your childhood (at least, this is how mine went!). As a child in the early years of school, before I knew or cared anything about math, I believed that two plus two was four. Why? Because that’s what the teacher told me.
Then she would place two objects on the desk. Then she would place two more. We kids would count them and come up with four. The next day, she would tell us again, that two plus two was four. We believed, because she told us. But, now, we also believed because we remembered what happened when she placed the objects on the desk. Once again, however, she would place two objects on her desk, then place two more beside them. Again, we would count to four.
It didn’t take too long for our belief to turn to knowledge. For years, now, I have ceased believing that two plus two is four. It is now something I KNOW.
Knowledge is a step beyond belief. Jesus told this guy that if he believed anything would be possible. How much more is possible if we step beyond belief and into knowledge?
Once we have seen Jesus heal the sick enough times, we don’t have to believe any more…we can KNOW. Once we have experienced his forgiveness enough times, we don’t have to believe we’re forgiven…we can KNOW.
In the middle of the night, when all is dark…and you feel an urging to slip quietly to the bathroom, you don’t believe your floor will be under your feet when you put your foot down. You KNOW it. Otherwise, you’d stay in bed and wet yourself. How do you know it? Because you’ve done it before, and the floor was always there.
Likewise, Jesus is always there. We “believe” it, or at least claim to believe it…but do we KNOW it? And if we don’t know it, how can we reach that point? By exercising our beliefs. Set enough apples on the desk enough times, and belief turns to knowledge. Put your foot down in the dark of the night and belief turns to knowledge. Test your beliefs long enough and belief turns to knowledge.
The problem is, in order to test our faith, we have to face trials. Jesus can’t heal someone unless they are sick. He can’t save someone unless they are lost. He can’t lift up someone unless they have fallen. All these are things we really don’t care to face…
“Lord, I do believe. Help me to KNOW!”
A powerful prayer, but a scary one. Are we ready to use it knowing what it may bring? Do we want to remain in “belief” or move ahead to “knowledge”? Most of us are going to face unpleasant things in life, whether we choose to make that step or not. So, perhaps the real question should be, will we stay where we are in spite of them, or will we use them to forge ahead in knowledge?