The 60/40 Split
Completely dialed in.
These are some of the phrases we’ve concocted to describe levels of spiritual buy-in. We gravitate towards up/down, in/out, black/white dichotomies. But I think faith has shades of grey.
Depending on the circumstances, my faith meter can fluctuate from high to low and everywhere in the middle. This is why I love this passage in Mark 9: it describes an encounter between Jesus and a desperate father. The dad’s son is spiritually and emotionally troubled; he’s been engaging in self-harming behaviors for years and his father is terrified.
The stakes on this one are life and death.
So the father brings his boy to Jesus and says “Please help us, if you can.” And Jesus responds, “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 9:23-24)
I love his candor here. Of course he has some belief Jesus can assist him, otherwise he wouldn’t be there. But his doubt is evident when he prays “if.” He’s not convinced Christ can deliver, but he knows he’s out of options.
And when Jesus asks him if he believes he blurts out,
I think so.
I want to.
He throws all his cards on the table.
“I’m not all in. I’m not completely convinced, will you give me the grace to cover the gap?”
And if you read the rest of the story, you’ll see that Jesus honors the faith he does have, rather than penalizing him for the doubt that accompanies it.
So maybe you’re in a 60/40 split when it comes to belief.
You’re more convinced than not, but still struggling.
The good news is that God works with the faith we do have, not the faith we don’t. And in His mercy, takes what we give Him and fills in the rest.
Maybe that’s why He says the only faith he requires is mustard seed-sized. It could fit under your finger nail.
And that’s all He needs to move mountains.