When You Are Tired by Steve Bezner

I do believe; help my unbelief!—Mark 9:24

I wanted to quit in June of 2020. I was tired, for a number of reasons. Our church had just emerged from a 26 month-long rebuilding process in the wake of a hurricane. Our campus was devastated (along with the neighborhood). COVID argumentation was at its peak. George Floyd’s death sparked a national response. It was an election year, and rhetoric was heated. My denomination was embroiled in yet another controversy. One of my pastor friends in the area resigned. He turned out to be the first of many in that season.

I called one of my friends, and he came over. We sat on the back patio, and I wept as we prayed. I asked God—no, I begged God—to release me from the pastorate.

I don’t “hear from God” often. But I did that day. He said, “No.”


I often joke with my sons that I can hardly wait for them to be poor. Joy and I are on stable financial footing these days, but there was a time when our checking account was more like quicksand. I was a graduate student for many years, and we had a couple of babies during those years. I also had a pacemaker (or two) implanted. In short, we had many years where we weren’t making much, and life was expensive.

Living with little money demands creativity and heartiness. We would go on dates to the bookstore where we would collect magazines and sit at a table and read them, pointing out fun excursions to one another. Then we would put them all back on the shelf and leave without purchasing a thing. Our first Christmas together our spending limit for one another was ten dollars. I got Joy a Lite-Brite so she could write “Merry Christmas” on it in red and green. We regularly ate one dollar boxed dinners from Walmart. We literally prayed for sales as we purchased groceries. Joy wore the same borrowed dark red maternity blouse for the final two weeks of her first pregnancy. We were not the poorest. But we were poor.

Conversely, my sons have (to date) known little of want. Don’t get me wrong; we tell them, “No,” plenty. But for them, it’s rarely been a matter of hardship. And I am glad that their life—to this point—has been relatively comfortable. I’m also glad that soon my oldest son will graduate from college and have to work a job while he is in graduate school. It will be good for him to live with less, to learn to manage on little. I’m not a mean father; however, I want my sons to learn something that deeply formed me.

It is a lesson true with money, but it also true with so much else in life:

When you have experienced poverty, you are grateful for the bounty.


There is a story in the Bible of a man who comes to Jesus. His son is demon-possessed, and he asks Jesus to help. He says, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus says, “‘If you can?’ Everything is possible for the one who believes.” The man’s frailty is on display. He says something that seems to be impossible: “I do believe; help my unbelief!”

Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt that you have a living faith and yet at the same time that you are completely at the end of your faith rope? That was this man. He believed in Jesus, or he would not have come. And yet he wasn’t sure what Jesus could do.

If you have ever prayed for a gas station to appear because the needle was below “E,” you know how this man felt. He had faith. But not much left.


I didn’t quit that day on the patio in June of 2020. Why? Because as God said, “No,” he did something beautiful. He brought to mind all of the times that He has delivered me over the years. He reminded me of the time someone showed up at our house with $500 when I couldn’t pay for Joy’s engagement ring. He reminded me of the time that I was supposed to die within two years of heart failure—twenty years ago. He reminded me of our church plant and the lives changed there. He reminded me of the supernatural call to Houston. He reminded me of incident after incident where He had been faithful.

And just like that—I could sense my tank filling up.

I could have faith, not because I felt like going on, but because He had proven faithful time and time again.

These moments of faith scarcity can be frightening; they can make you question if your faith is real. Remember: When you have experienced poverty, you are grateful for the bounty. These moments in the valley make the mountaintop vistas more stunning. The roots formed during storms produce sturdier trunks. The pruning at the hand of the Gardener allows even more fruit. You may be in a moment of poverty, but if you follow Him, He brings the bounty of faith in due time.

As you look back at your life you will see moments where He has proven faithful. I have no doubt that your life has been difficult. So has mine. But He has never left me. Nor has He left you. And He continues to be faithful, even when I am not. Remember those moments, and allow Him to turn your unbelief into belief. Allow Him to put fuel into your faith tank.

Allow him to turn your unbelief into belief.

Image Credit: Christian Erfurt