Lord, Help My Unbelief
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2019 Jun 12
God always has a way of preparing me.
Do you know what I mean? Have you ever had Him really impress something on your heart… only to realize why within a very short amount of time?
I could give you example after example, but here’s one of my favorites: The morning my husband was going to resign from the pastorate, I went walking. I was consumed with fear and anxiety over the future. That very morning, God spoke so clearly to me through the words of the song Voice of Truth.
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
(words by Steven Curtis Chapman and Mark Hall)
Those words echoed through my mind with the reassurance God was waiting to carry me to new depths of faith in Him. I had no idea the waves that would soon crash against my life, waves of adultery and divorce. But, I clung to the promise He was holding out His hand, ushering me into a deeper faith than I had ever known.
It happened again this morning…
On my way to work today, I listened to a sermon on doubt. The speaker used Mark 9 as his text. In case you don’t remember, a man came to Jesus asking for healing for his son who was demon-possessed. The father stated his son often convulsed and the demon would throw him into the fire. As with every parent, the father was devastated and fearful for his son’s life.
That’s where we pick up:
“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.
He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24
I should have known…
Today, we were hit with an unexpected test of our faith. It’s been building over the last couple of months, but today it hit hard. Since I tell you everything, I’ll just be totally open. Our finances have taken an incredible hit in the last few months through circumstances out of our control, and today was just kind of the final straw.
One. More. Hit.
I don’t know why finances seem to be such a difficult area for me to trust. I know part of it is because of all the years of struggle as a single mom. I thought maybe that was behind us now that we have two incomes. But, it seems there’s never enough. Through some unforeseen circumstances, we are basically losing an income.
Over the years, I have watched God literally drop money into my lap when I was in need. There was one time a dear soul from Canada who read my blog felt compelled to send me money. I had never met her. She had no reason to send me money. But she wired me the exact amount I needed to pay the rest of my daughter’s braces…and I got it the day I had to pay. That’s no coincidence. That’s my God! He has never let us go hungry. He has always provided more than enough.
Yet, here I sit telling God…no…BEGGING God… “If you are able…”
My God is MORE THAN ABLE!!
In my head, I know that. So why does my heart tremble? Why do I doubt God will show up in mighty ways? Why am I so locked in this human existence that I can’t trust Him with something – honestly –so insignificant as my finances? Why are finances such a stumbling block for me?
I don’t know those answers, but today I find myself crying out for God to help my unbelief…
As I struggle to trust God with these circumstances, He seems to be giving me a recipe for faith in the midst of the unknown.
Rehearse His faithfulness.
Even as I struggle with unbelief, my mind is filled with the many times God has come through for me. There are reminders of His faithfulness all around me. From the house in which we live to my precious husband to the laughter of my children. Every time I get an email from a reader, I am reminded how He opened doors for ministry when I thought I had been dis qualified. From the $100 slipped into my hand at church one day that allowed me to pay for my boys’ basketball sign ups to a Grandfather who bought a house at the age of 98 that is now mine. So many times He has provided.
Sometimes it was the big, Red Sea-parting miracles. Sometimes it was the little doses of manna, just enough and just in time. Always, it was His faithfulness.
Why would I expect this time to be any different?
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Embrace His character.
God is good, always. Even in the midst of the pain of this life, I guarantee He is working for my good and His glory.
God is faithful, forever and always. We talked about this one above. He’s always here, always caring, always working, even in the silence.
God is our provider. My Jehovah Jireh, the one who provides the lamb for the sacrifice. The money we have is not ours, is not her because we earned it. The money we have is His, a gift from Him.
God is sovereign. Nothing can happen to us unless He allows it. Even when it’s wrong, it’s unfair, it’s unjust, we have to remember He has allowed it and will take care of us.
The bad things happening around us cannot touch us, cannot harm us, without God allowing them to impact us. We have to believe that even when we are in the fire, He is right there with us, working all things for our good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Wait in expectation.
I promise that Roy and I are on our knees before God, asking Him to intervene and provide for all our needs. We are in prayer together and individually.
But what do our prayers say if they aren’t prayers made in faith, believing that God hears and will act on our behalf? James tells us to ask without wavering, without being tossed about like the waves of the sea. So we must pray in faith, believing He hears us and will answer.
So we pray. And we believe. And we wait, expecting God to show up in mighty ways. Because that’s the God we serve.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
Prophesy my praise.
I went walking and listened to a sermon by Mark Batterson of National Community Church. It’s funny how God puts just the right messages in our path when we need them. He was talking about prophesying our praise…really just speaking God’s promises into being. Reminding the enemy that our God is bigger and able and faithful and good.
As I walked, I began to speak truth into our situation. That God is going to take care of us as He always does. That this situation is an opportunity to lean into the Father and experience intimacy with Him. That His ways are higher than our ways and somehow, some way, this is all in His plan.
I ended my little walking prayer session with the declaration that I am no longer a slave to fear, that I am a Child of God (thanks to Bethel music). The tears streamed down my face as I sang the words, hands lifted high, weeping with His grace that is more than sufficient.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Father God, you are good. You are all-sufficient, all-knowing, all-powerful. It’s so easy to get caught up in this life, in our humanity, and forget your goodness and grace and provision. I’m so sorry for being so quick to forget all the ways you have cared for me and turning to grumbling and complaining just like the Israelites. Today, I declare my faith in you! I believe you have plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I declare my faith in your provision, in your promises to care for us. Even as I cry out for you to help my unbelief, I feel you near, bolstering my faith. Thank you for caring in all the tiny, intimate details of this life.