I have come to believe that one of the greatest limitations for God’s work is my own unwillingness to trust in His capacity to accomplish “more than I can ask or imagine.”
I have often struggled to understand the cry of the father of the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!” How could someone believe and yet not believe at the same time? Weren’t those positions mutually exclusive?
A few years ago I was trying to teach my six-year-old son – who was terrified of water – how to swim. Things weren’t going so well until we had a breakthrough in the bathtub one night. There in just a few inches of water, he felt for the first time what it was like to actually float on his back in the water. He was thrilled, and I was confident we had made significant progress.
The next time we were at a large public swimming pool, I eagerly suggested that he try floating on his back just like he had in the bathtub. His reply stunned me, “No, Daddy, I can’t. It’s too deep here.”
I made every effort I could to persuade him that it didn’t matter. I tried explaining to him that because of the laws of nature, if he can float in just a few inches of water, he could float in three feet of water, and he can float in twenty feet of water. It didn’t matter how deep the water got, he would always be able to float. He could trust the immutable laws of nature.
No matter how zealously I argued, he simply could not be persuaded that it was possible. The water was just too deep – or so he thought.
One evening as I reflected on my frustration with his obvious failure to comprehend the possibilities in that situation, God began to work on me. His unwillingness to trust his ability to float on top of the water had revealed the unwillingness deep within my heart to trust God’s ability to see me through deep waters.
I realized that often in my own life I have trusted God to help me through some of the easier situations. But there were other circumstances looming on the horizon that appeared far more intimidating and difficult. I found myself saying that God will see me through, but only believing that to be true in the “easier” situations. My heart began to cry out, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”
Now God keeps reminding me that it doesn’t matter how deep the waters get, if He can see me through the easier situation, He can certainly see me through (if not carry me through) those circumstances that from a human perspective appear to be impossible.