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Between the Lights - Fear, Belief, and Unbelief

Mark 5 & Mark 9

First off, the photograph isn’t the thing...it is the video, so be sure to watch the video.

As I shared in my last post, I am doing a read through the Gospels monthly this year and I’m now into Mark and I noticed two statements that seemed to connect with one another.  In Mark 5:36, Jesus tells the father of a young girl who has been healed, “do not fear, only believe.”  When I read that a few days ago, it really spoke to me but I wasn’t quite sure why.  So I saved it in my journal and let it sit.  Well, yesterday morning came another quick line in Mark...In 9:24, another father is before Jesus asking for the healing of a child and after Jesus speaks of how “all things are possible for one who believes,” the father cries out “I believe; help my unbelief!”

All day yesterday there’d been some background reflecting for me on the connection between these two.  I wasn’t sure whether it was more about the fear, the belief, or the unbelief, or if it was something else entirely. I was out walking Scout last night and saw a sculpture outside our neighborhood Jewish temple and there was something about them which seemed to connect but it felt like I was trying to bring in a photo just because I “needed to.”  But as I kept walking, I came across a spot where I had recorded a video a few mornings ago.

That morning, I had taken Scout out on a much earlier walk than normal because I saw a big thing of rain coming in on the radar.  So we were out well before sunrise (Scout was not thrilled by this, but she went).  It was cloudy and dark and there was a light mist and haze in the air.  As we walked, I saw this scene.

Something drew me in with this moment.  The dark, foreboding early morning, the one street light shining as normal, and then the other pulsing in the background.  I just stopped and took it in for a while (as Scout sniffed around at a nearby bush).  I wasn’t sure what drew me in at that moment, but I received that moment nonetheless.

Scout and I returned on our walk tonight to that spot and I experienced how fear, belief, and unbelief are all here in this short video.  The cold, dreary, dark morning was far from the most comforting and then the lights together both feel like the wrestlings with belief.  I don’t feel like I want to say that we should be more like the solidly shining streetlight and less like the other one.  That feels too simplistic.

Instead, what stirred for me last night was that, in the midst of times of fear, we hold to the light that at times feels like it is shining solid and strong and other times may feel like it is there at times and other times not so much - sometimes within the space of a few moments of each other.  I used to guilt myself (and still do at times) about not having strong enough faith or belief but I have begun to see that the second streetlight is more the reality of life.  It is honest with life as it doesn’t deny the pain and the struggles.  It doesn’t deny the need for healing like in the two stories.  It reflects the space between where we are and what we hope to see.  Sometimes what we hope for and pray for does come to pass and other times it may not.  But what I found comforting in these two passages and in this moment is that Jesus was there with both fathers and the light is there with both streetlights.  God is present.  Love is present.  Hope is present.

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Imago Scriptura
Imago Scriptura
Authors
Edward Goode