I remember with absolute clarity my prayer to God as I lay on an emergency room examination table the night of my stroke—an entrance into the unknown darkness of chaos. I remember it so well because I have repeated that same prayer throughout this journey through chaos.
My prayer had two requests for help—1) I asked God to help me understand and 2) I asked Him to help me know what I could do to help get through it into His new creation for my life. My condition seemed a good bit impossible to me as I lay there.
My mind was prompted to remember the time when Jesus was asked from a frustrated and desperate father whose son was afflicted with uncontrollable seizures which threatened his whole life. His father had heard of Jesus’ healing miracles and had brought his son to a gathering of Jesus and His disciples.
Mark 9:14-24 NASB says,
“When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16 And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18 and [a]whenever it seizes him, it [b]slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and [c]stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19 And He *answered them and *said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” 20 They brought [d]the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Jesus was saying, “Just believe,” but the father was pushing for more information about how to carry that out.
On another occasion, Jesus met with a well-known Jewish rabbi named Nicodemus who came to visit with Jesus at night—a time when it would be more difficult to be spotted by others. He was seeking to be taught by this carpenter’s Son who was from, of all places, a rural town of Nazareth.
John 3:3-4 NASB
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these [a]signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [b]again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
There is that same attitude of frustration and desperation we saw in the father of the epileptic boy.
John 3:5-11 NASB
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born [c]again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.”
Notice, how many times Jesus said the word believe. The answer—is that He is showing the rabbi to ‘just believe.’
Here is the answer as to how to believe. It begins with realizing how much love God already possesses for the one seeking Him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [e]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB
Believing begins with our realizing that God is bent in our direction to begin with. Therefore, we can depend on His love and count on His action to do what only He can do in those times of darkness, doubt and desperation. The word for ‘believe’ in Greek is an action verb—pisteuo—and the literal meaning is ‘to count on, to be confident in and to trust.’ That is a choice we can make ourselves which puts us immediately into a relationship of oneness with and confidence in our Heavenly Father.
The father of the epileptic son had already demonstrated that choice by coming to Jesus and not giving up when His disciples were not successful in healing the boy. No wonder Jesus was disappointed by their ineffectiveness and stepped in immediately on the basis of the father’s persistence to count on divine intervention—believing, and the miracle victory over evil occurred.
On the cross, Jesus Himself chose to believe and count on the love of the Father, and the atoning death happened and was followed by His resurrection on behalf of all believers.
In the midst of the dark chaos of imprisonment, Paul and Silas were approached by their jailer who had seen God’s intervention.
Acts 16:25-33 NASB
“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of [n]the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
There it is again—just believe. That, we can do and no one can do it for us. The moment we do believe, we are instantly united with God, in Christ, and ready for the revelation of His hand, which is the biblical definition of miracle. Over and over, He has shown His children that He can be trusted, counted on to meet us in whatever dark circumstances and dispel the darkness and overcome the evil one. What always follows that chaos is the peace Paul recommends in Philippians.
Philippians 4:6-7 NASB
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
No matter what our condition, know that the Great Physician has arrived and will lead us into abundant life. Our part is to ‘just believe’ and just do it.
And keep doing it,