I had over 50 symptoms of damage relating to my brain injury and most of these symptoms were extremely distressing and disturbing. The damage caused me to live in utter confusion and in a very real way, lose sense of reality. I had cognitive loss resulting in problems with memory and time, physical damage resulting in pain and seizures, emotional effects like uncontrollable depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and derealization. I was incapable of consistent rational thought. Due to the global nature of the damage, many of my symptoms also had a spiritual component. While the effects of the damage are pretty much gone, I still have Central Nervous System instability and will continue to have to be careful with any medication I take for some time. This list is not exhaustive but only meant to show why I struggled the way that I did for so long and why I am writing this post about faith that you are reading.
So what does one do when a storm like mine dies down? How does a person believe in God when He has permitted their pain? The answer is simple, faith—I can either reject God or dust off my feet and fight to believe again.
Peter denied the Lord three times and feared being utterly condemned by Him. In my confusion I denied the Lord far more times than Peter did in those 10 months. I understand Peter’s fear. And yet, here I am… learning to believe again. Slowly, parts of me are returning.
I remind myself that it was always faith—before my injury I believed in God through faith and now, I must take a hold of faith and trust that God is who He says He is. “For He who comes to God must first believe that He is.”
The Bible says that Abraham believed God. That’s interesting considering that he saw God physically as well, yet it was belief, not sight, that bore faith. This is contrasted with Judas who also saw God but didn’t believe and because of his unbelief, he lacked faith. “Faith is being SURE of what you hope for and CERTAIN of what you believe.” Abraham, through belief, counted God faithful. Judas did not. It was not the sight of God that made the difference, it was belief that mattered. This is a powerful distinction.
Some say seeing is believing but as we see with Judas, seeing doesn’t guarantee faith, belief does. You can’t have faith in something you don’t believe to be true. Judas couldn’t have faith in Jesus because he did not believe in who Jesus was, not because Jesus didn’t demonstrate His divinity. This is true of everyone who hears the Gospel, recognizes the uniqueness of the person of Jesus yet rejects Jesus as Christ.
Where does that leave me? I can either take God at His Word, in spite of what I experienced and how I feel about it, or I can let doubt and emotion overcome belief and faith.
So I whisper, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.”