Annual watchword 2020 “I do believe; help me to overcome my disbelief!” (Mark Gospel 9, 24)
"I do believe; help me to overcome my disbelief!” This cry has a dramatic history. A father fights for the life of his child. His son suffers incurable. The father did experience this for years. He was helpless.
Anyone who has ever seen his child or grandchild in desperate circumstances will probably have an idea of this father's suffering. Anyone who has ever begged God on his knees to help should know this man's cry for help.
This father is looking for help. Those who don't know what to do anymore turn to others for help. The father turns to Jesus´s disciples. He expects help from the Jesus People - and he gets bitterly disappointed. These people want to help but they just can´t. Frustration on both sides. In this tense situation there is an open argument. The disciples argue with other “healing experts”.
I know such situations. There are arguments about causes. Or about the question of guilt. There are endless discussions about possible solutions. But only one thing isn´t done: Help. The one in bad need receives no help.
The story could have stopped here. A bitterly disappointed man turns away and says goodbye. Resigned. I am concerned, that this situation has already happened to many people. They had expected help, also from Christians. But they were at a loss what to do next. They just stood helpless. And then the disappointed people said goodbye to the church and even to faith.
I don't judge the helpless helpers, on the contrary! I personally know conversations that have brought me to the limits of pastoral care. In which I could only sympathize.
But there is a surprising turning point in this story! Jesus appears. Now this father's need turns to the one who has the power to help. "If you can, help me!" the father asks. It's like a cry of prayer. He puts his total hope on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Where human help is not possible, the father in our story and we all, including myself want to expect everything from God. Therefore I will make it a firm decision to establish the 2020 annual watchword as my prayer: I do believe, Lord Jesus; help me overcome my disbelief!
The great challenge of this prayer is , to trust God completely and not to forget: There is always a doubt in me, an uncertainty. My trust in God often melts as quickly as butter in the sun.
When the apostle Peter approaches Jesus on the water at night, he becomes a hero. That must have left the other disciples speechless! Our “Super-Peter” is walking on the water! But then the hero of faith suddenly gets headwind. With all his courage of faith he starts to drown into the waves: "Lord, help me!" he shouts (Mt. 14, 22 f).
The annual watchword encourages me to take steps of faith. Towards Jesus Christ. To dare the impossible with God's help. Hope and ask for the impossible directly from the Lord Jesus Christ - not from his people. And at the same time not to forget the fact that I can also get wet feet. That I'm not a hero of faith. I will have to experience my own small beliefs again and again in the future.
Jesus helped the suffering father and his child. Jesus has clearly shown His power and glory. If I don't get this experience of faith in a difficult situation, I still don't have to despair. Like the sinking Peter, I can trust that Jesus Christ will hold me and that my faith will be saved from destruction. I firmly trust that the hand of Jesus will hold me in every situation in life - no matter how small or large my faith is.
God bless you!