“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus said. “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?Mark 9:19, NIV
God has given to each of us a measure of faith, but we don’t know what our capacity is. God knows, and He gives us opportunities to grow our faith SO THAT we will be able to do the special work God has for us. But to do so, we have to believe. And like the man with the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9, we have to ask God to strengthen that belief: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The Holy Spirit will open our eyes, ears, heads, and hearts to the reality of God’s presence. Sometimes that realization only comes through pain and the Spirit’s encouragement for us to hold on, to persevere through a hard time, to break through the walls we have built.
Alex Kendrick gives us an example of holding onto faith with the death crawl scene in the film “Facing the Giants.”
The head football coach at Shiloh Christian Academy had not yet posted a winning record in his six-year tenure. As he faced the possibility of losing his job, the coach’s car broke down, and his marriage faltered as infertility tests showed that the issue stemmed from him. He felt worthless.
At the end of a long, agonizing night, the coach chose to praise God no matter what was happening in his life. As he applied this new attitude in his life, he decided to use it to form a new coaching philosophy. He urged each one of his players to give their maximum effort no matter what the situation. He tried to motivate them to believe they had access to more strength that they could ever imagine, but they were skeptical.
The turning point began in practice when the coach challenged Brock—a team leader who was looked up to by his peers—to do the death crawl (on hands and feet) for 20 yards with a teammate on his back.
Blindfolded, Brock began the death crawl while the team smirked. As he passed the 20-yard line, the 30, the 40, and the 50, and the team’s laughter and teasing remarks quieted. The coach walked, then crawled next to Brock, encouraging him constantly. “Give your very best! Keep driving. Don’t quit, Brock—don’t quit until you have nothing left! I want everything you’ve got. I know it’s hard, but you can do it. Keep going. You promised me your best. Give me more. Only 20 more steps.”
Finally, Brock collapsed, feeling weak and defeated. But the coach told him, “Look up Brock, you’re in the end zone. You just carried a 140-pound man across the field in your arms.”
Brock couldn’t believe it. The team cheered and congratulated Brock, until Jeremy—the boy who had rode on his back—interrupted with a correction, “I weigh 160 pounds.” The demonstration made Brock and his teammates believe that the coach’s words held truth.
Brock gained access to something inside him that he had never accessed before. When he focused on the voice that told him he could keep moving forward, he could—and he did.
As believers, we have unimaginable power living inside us—the Holy Spirit. On our own aren’t up to the challenges, but we aren’t on our own. God has given us what we need to overcome evil with good, and we don’t have to do it on our own. When we focus on Him, all things are possible.
Excerpt from upcoming work: "The Chain Progression of Praise" by Keith Korver and Kathleen Evenhouse