Where does faith come from?

This is big faith:

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15).

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though… the fields yield no food… And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab 3:17-19).

How do you get from Zero to there? How do you even believe at all if you just don’t believe, if you’re stuck in skepticism, glued fast?

That was my question.

I’d tried the worldly-wise approaches. They all fell through the floor crashing, broke apart, and leaked like sieves when life poured through. Now my truth hunger was driving me to want belief in those impossible things the Christ faith called for. But how? You can’t just make yourself believe!

The man on the radio said…

The tongue is like the rudder, steers the whole ship. Say it. Confess with your tongue Jesus Christ as Lord

But that’s fake. That’s hypocrisy. I hate hypocrisy! (my brain replied).

Then be like the man who wanted so much to believe but,…

who cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief!”

And so I did.

And so He did…

… He helped my unbelief, by pulling rugs right out, fierce, from under my smug self-sufficiency, right out from under life as I knew it.

Now the fixer was flailing out of her depths, gasping, drowning. Knowing none of those old sieves could bail out the boat, I grabbed that tossed lifeline of unbelievable promise from the Book: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things…

[that you shouldn’t worry about, like what you’ll eat or wear, or where you’ll live, how you”ll keep warm…]

…and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat 6:33).

I had nothing to lose. It was all running out through my fingers already. I was helpless! I grabbed the crazy line and clung to it for dear life…

And He gave me that: Dear life! Sweet life! Real life! And amazing dropping out of heaven food and money and things life and employment in this world demand, like car and clothes and roof and winter warmth! And deliverance from fear and depression.

I was abandoned but not alone, destitute but receiving rich presents everyday. I was breathless! This was real!

Then came comfort. Then came ease. Then came spiritual sloth. Then came new troubles.

Then came doubt.

(Which sometimes grew till someone had to sit me down and ask, face on: “Now, tell me what you know.” And my mind so jumbled again I didn’t think I knew anything, about God truth and all. But the question repeated, demanded, “What do you know?

Well…, I knew there was a Creator. I couldn’t deny… And I knew that He once…

And I started remembering things He’d done… amazing things…

And I prayed, “I believe. Help Thou my unbelief!” Repeatedly.

And He did. Repeatedly.

I grabbed whatever line He was throwing me, whatever scripture promise-you-can-believe-but-how? (Just say it, just pray it. And hang on.) And I clung.

And again, I saw impossibles happen. Evidence not seen become seen.

Ephesians 2:8 says we’re “saved by grace through faith, and that not of [our]selves; it is the gift of God, lest any man [or smug woman] should boast.” I know scholars point out grammar showing that the text means grace is the gift. But I know (it’s one of the things I know) that the faith itself is also a gift that I could in no way get to myself.

And that’s how you believe when you can’t believe.


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4 thoughts on “How to Believe When You Can’t Believe

  1. this was wonderful! just magnificent–really.

    the way you drew a picture so crystal clear and the pictures are beautiful. i loved the thoughts on doubts and just trusting Him and whatever line He throws. i like that.

    blessings in His grace,


    1. Thank you, Nacole, for your kind encouragement. I still pray that original prayer, too, now and then: “I believe. Help my unbelief!” While I cling to that lifeline. And He does.
      God bless you!

    1. How to illustrate this puzzled me at first. But lately the imagery of heaven opening in Ezekiel 1 (and Acts 10 and Rev 19) has been replaying in my mind. And that idea fit what I was talking about here just so! Thank you, Kim, and God bless.

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