I Believe; Help My Unbelief

Here are the original instructions from Lisa Nichols Hickman at the end of chapter three from Writing in the Margins:

 On the left side of your margin, write down the areas in your life where you have faith.  On the right side of your margin, write down the areas in your life where you lack faith.  To bridge the distance between the two, write a prayer connecting the two across the top margin on the page.

I brainstormed a list of areas where I have faith and a list of areas where I struggle.  On the list for areas where I have faith:  I trust that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I understand God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I trust in the sovereignty of God, and I believe in the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the life everlasting.  Things that cause struggle for me in my faith:  Other’s lack of faith and troubles in the world and the universal church.  And while I absolutely trust and believe that God will set all things right in time, I find myself chronically unable to trust God’s timing.  My original prayer included a long list of special requests I would like God to hurry up and set right.

It’s hard as a Presbyterian to say the words “I believe” without also thinking of the Apostles’ Creed, which in so many ways has helped shape my belief about God.  I started writing it out, and as I did it occurred to me to look up symbols for the Apostles to include in my picture.  I found that each of them had their own symbol often related to the gruesome way in which they were martyred.  And I thought, “And we think we have problems:  the poor apostles!”  Really gruesome stuff!  According to tradition, only St. John died a natural death.  It is hard to imagine how a message of love could be met with such inhumanity.  It is equally hard to imagine how the good news first shared by the twelve apostles could survive and spread around the world.  I found myself feeling a little less discouraged by the current troubles in the world and a bit inspired by how the church has spread Christ’s message of love.

Now to what appeared in my margins!  There is probably too much going on with this page with writing at the top and writing on the margins and the tracing paper overlay with the Apostle’s Creed!  The prayer in the margin of this page was shortened:

 I believe; help my unbelief.  God, I thank you for the gift of faith.  I feel blessed to know and trust that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  I pray for hardened hearts to open so that the gift of faith, which you so freely bestow, can be freely received!  Thank you for your promise to set all things right.  Please hurry.  Where there are challenges, let your grace abound and be greater.  Thank you for the communion of saints, for the forgiveness of sins, and for the promise of life everlasting.  I pray for your church universal.  Forgive the church for the ways we have collectively failed.  Help us look past our differences to see the good we share in common so that we can be a force for good in this world.

It is funny how the very act of honestly probing areas where I lacked faith helped strengthen it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *