I’ve heard it said that, “With God, all things are possible.” But I’m not entirely convinced, because I’ve met people who absolutely refuse to be helped.
Let me explain what I mean. Because I’m very open about my own struggles, I get a lot of emails from people asking for help. And since I don’t want people to suffer like I have, I give advice whenever possible. Every now and then, I’ll get push-back emails splattered with one of my least favorite words in the English language—can’t.
“I can’t do that. I just can’t! I’ve already tried and failed. I can’t. I can’t talk to anybody. I can’t overcome this. I can’t believe that things will ever get better. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I CAN’T!”
And in the end, I have to agree with them. They can’t do it. But it’s not because they’re physically unable to do it; but it’s because their disbelief prevents them from doing anything else. Oh sure, they might put forth some menial effort to convince other people that they’re trying, but inside they’ve already decided that whatever they can do will not work. Whatever their doctor, therapist, friend, or a book says simply isn’t going to work, because these people have already decided that it will not work.
To be clear, I’m not talking about having doubt. I’m talking about cold, hard disbelief. Doubt contains some measure of faith, while disbelief is the total and absolute lack of hope. The doubter is willing to cautiously hike a new trail, while the disbeliever refuses to believe there even IS a trail.
This is like a person who has a medical problem, but doesn’t believe in the power of medicine. This person can complain about their symptoms, sincerely desiring relief, but if he refuses the medicine simply because he doesn’t believe it will work, it’s very unlikely he will be healed.
It’s like a person who believes that they can’t run a marathon. If she doesn’t believe that she could ever run a marathon, she probably never will. Why would she? She would be too skeptical to sign up, let alone train for one.
I could tell you over and over and over again that you can do this or accomplish that, but my encouragements are all completely meaningless unless you believe them.
In the end, no one—not even God—can save us from our own disbelief.
This is not to say that God is unable to save us from our own disbelief. God could easily force our eyes open, and make us see the light. But that’s not really His style, is it? God—the ultimate source of love—is more interested in allowing us to choose. He’s not going to force us to take our medicine or run a marathon, let alone make us accept a miracle. Instead, He waits for us to ask for aid. He wants us to be free to choose things—to be free to believe or to disbelieve in the possibility of a miracle.
Consider all of Christ’s miracles in the New Testament. Each of these were prefaced with belief—the belief that Christ could, in fact, perform the miracle. Furthermore, nearly all of His miracles required some sort of action on the part of the receiver—asking, casting a net, washing their eyes, giving food to Christ’s servants, or reaching out to touch the hem of Christ’s robe.
It was the people’s belief, coupled with even the smallest action, that produced these miracles: they received answers, they hauled in a loads of fishes, their sight was restored, their food fed multitudes, and their diseases were cured. If we exercise faith and do what we can do to help ourselves, then God bridges the gap with a miracle. There can be no miracle without belief. In a very real way, belief is the fuel of miracles.
Consider what would happen if we actually believed in the encouragement and advice of others. What if, instead of constantly tearing ourselves down, we actually believed the best about ourselves? What if we believed we could actually achieve our dreams, and then worked to do so?
Imagine the power of these beliefs!
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth,” (Mark 9:23).