“Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”
Not so long ago, in a time of tremendous personal crisis. I remember one particular counseling session. The couple was sharing their heart, and I grappled to focus on every word. At times my vision would blur as my pulse raced, my pen trembled between my fingers, and I could feel sweat trickling down the back of my neck.
My chest hurt, maybe stress or perhaps from the recent heart stents, I really don’t know. My thoughts were a labyrinth of desperation, hopelessness, and a fear that surpassed anything I had ever experienced. Removing my glasses, trying to remain engaged, and stalling for the right words to say. I remember thinking, now I know what a panic attack really feels like.
I eagerly ended the session with a weak, almost desperate plea, asking. “Can we please pray for God’s healing?” Verbally, I asked God for forgiveness in their lives, to protect this covenant, and for wisdom to continue this journey together. In my spirit, I cried out with trepidation for a miracle that would end my personal torment and restore hope to my soul. A miracle I no longer believed could come true. At least not in my strength, not by my faith alone. At that moment I felt compelled to faintly whisper, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief (Matthew 9:20-24).”
Many months later, I saw that couple and they thanked me once again for the way God used me in restoring their marriage. They seemed so happy . . . and yet. My life was not fully healed. I lamented the spiritual scars that remained and the life changing decisions that loomed on the horizon. With a peace that only comes from above, I smiled and sincerely declared, “I am so very proud of both of you.”
This difficult season would eventually pass, and within His timing. God revealed a new season in my life and ministry. The reason I am sharing this confession with you is to declare, at times. We all need help. We all need to be reminded; “For by wise guidance you will wage war. And in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 24-6).”
Have you ever struggled through the day to conceal your pain while you focused on serving others in the name of Jesus Christ?
Have you ever rejoiced with someone God blessed, while feeling discouraged because your own personal hurts remained?
I am encouraged when I see God transform heartache into hope. To see emotional scars transformed into scars of honor. As I write, I am listening to the words of the song, Even If, by MercyMe. If you or someone you love is hurting, encourage them to meditate on the message of this song.
For two decades, I have been blessed to provide Biblically based, Christ-centered counsel to individuals and couples from all walks of life. Never immune from the pain life can bring. Instead, sharing my gifts and talents, and when troubles arose, reaching out for support and encouragement along the way.
I sincerely believe, if you go through difficulties alone in the body of Christ, it is because you choose too. Find solace in the truth that we all struggle and we all need help. If I can personally help you, a loved one or someone in your congregation, please let me know.
David R. Donaldson, Ph.D.
Donaldson Christian Counseling, Inc.