“I Wish I Believed All That I Just Said”

I had something of a mini-crisis in my life this week. That might be a little too strong of a term, but a more fitting one isn’t coming to mind at the moment, so we’ll just go with mini-crisis.

It took place in the financial realm, which isn’t surprising to anyone, as I’m sure many of us have had mini-crises on multiple occasions in the past year (and it saddens me knowing that many of you have faced major crises in this realm). So in between classes and other responsibilities, I’m checking bank accounts, calling different people at different banks, rushing around in an attempt to remedy the situation.

Then, in a somewhat rare moment of clarity, I stopped. I stood outside of a building on my campus in St. Louis, and I prayed. I spent several minutes laying my worries and my problems out before the Lord. And then I spent several minutes attempting to convince myself of what I already knew to be true. Money isn’t everything. Financial security isn’t everything. While important, there are many other things that are more crucial to my life as a Christian. God is not unaware of my problems, he hasn’t dropped the ball and let one slip through the cracks. He is good, he is loving, and he is in control.

To close this prayer/preaching-to-myself session, a few final words slipped out. They came right about the time most of us say something like, “In Jesus’ name.” And they’re now going to become a regular part of my prayer life…

“And Lord, I wish I believed all that I just said.”

On that day and with those words I learned a lot about myself. I reminded myself of many things that I “knew.” But that’s just the problem, isn’t it? I “know” that prayer is important, and vital, and powerful. But do I really “believe” it? From the looks of my ongoing struggles in consistently praying, I’d say no. I “know” it in the intellectual realm, with my head. But I don’t truly and completely “believe” it in the experiential realm, with my heart.

But this dichotomy between head and heart, knowing and believing, is a battle that is all-too-true with each of us. A common phrase you might have heard around The Crossing is that we’re all “mixed bags.” Mixed bags of belief and unbelief. No matter how old, mature, or wise of a Christian any of us are, we’re still a mixed bag.

And that’s why prayer and meditation and regular reading of the Bible are so vital to us all. It’s why we, at The Crossing, are reading through our bibles together for the next year. Because we must constantly be convincing ourselves, reminding ourselves of what is true. Just like the man says in Mark 9:24 when Jesus asks him if he believes, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

May we all grow in faith, and in knowledge, and in the belief of our hearts. And if you struggle with your prayer life, if you struggle like me, with believing in your heart, try one of those little phrases. They’re sure helping me.

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