This week I will be preaching on an incredibly insightful event in the life of Jesus Christ – Mark Chapter 9. A father with a deeply troubled son comes to Jesus for help. And at one point in the drama he utters what has been on every human being’s mind for some time. “I believe, help my unbelief.” I hope that agnostics, atheists and struggling Christians come this week. But I also pray that all of us will come with an open heart ready for the power of God’s Word to give us new practical steps to strengthen our faith.
We live in an age of cynicism. Webster’s dictionary defines this commonly used word as “a belief that the motivations of people are generally selfish.” But that definition is far from its origin of the early Greek cynics. This was a system of philosophy as well as a rejection of the complicated life of the age and a choice of simplicity. Today, we use it for someone who has secretly given up on the viewpoint that lofty ideals really don’t have a practical place in life. Therefore, our society has often been called living in the age of cynicism.
This is a common reference to our day today. For example, in the Salt Lake Tribune, Howard Lehman, a professor of political science at the University of Utah, wrote within the last year, “However, young people today deserve better. It may be impossible to return to the Age of Idealism, but surely our political leaders can provide a more optimistic and hopeful environment for them as a way to reject this Age of Cynicism.”
The point is that there are a lot of discouraged, frustrated, and pessimistic people today and we need faith now more than ever. For parents of troubled children and children of troubled parents this story speaks to all of us.
My question for you as you consider whether you have time to make it to church this busy week is: Can you afford to miss an inspirational experience that will build solid, practical, honest belief into your life? We all have prayed the prayer of this father — “I believe – help my unbelief.” It is time we let God do just that in a surprisingly spiritual way.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White