Help My Unbelief
Updated: May 4, 2021
Help My Unbelief
I can still vividly remember my brother asking me, “Do you think you will go to Heaven if you die today?” as we walked together to a city-wide Y2K watchnight service. I was 11 years old, and up till that point, I had never thought about my faith or the afterlife. I grew up in Malaysia, a country made up of many religions: Islam (the main and largest), Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism. My parents were first generation Christians; they brought us up with Christian values and centered our lives around church. As a kid, church was a familiar place where I made friends and had fun. I did not think much of what faith meant or why my friends and family believed in God. Christianity was just another religion to me in a country where you are free to believe what suits you or your lifestyle. However, my brother’s question sparked my curiosity, and I started paying more attention to sermons at my church and my devotional time with my family. When I look back on my rescue story, I relate to the father in the story of the boy with unclean spirit (Mark 9:14-29) where the father replied to Jesus' faith invitation with, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
The moment I surrendered my life to Christ happened one afternoon when I was around 14 or 15 years old. I sat at the corner of my school’s library, waiting for my sister to finish her prayer meeting with the leaders of the school’s Christian student fellowship. I was curious to see the way they worshipped and prayed to God. I felt the presence of God when I prayed and sang along with them, which I had never experienced before. God knew I still had doubts about Him, yet at that moment, He simply asked me to let Him into my life, and He promised to show me who He is and guide me as I seek Truth. I started being bolder in asking questions at youth group and took the Bible seriously. I remember asking a lot of my Muslim and Buddhist friends why they believed in their gods or practiced their religion, but I always got the same answer: because their parents made them do so or religion has been part of their family tradition for generations. It seemed as if their gods were so distant and that only the religious teachers were privileged enough to learn about them. Christianity was different, it was personal, intimate, and hopeful. From then on, I started realizing the sins and struggles in my life. I even cried in bed listening to “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman on my Walkman as all my selfish wants and worldly desires were being exposed and stripped away. I started to take the life of Christ seriously and understood fully what He did and accomplished on the cross by dying for my sins to save me from eternal suffering and judgment.
It has been a long journey since I accepted Christ. I started off my faith in Christ with a slight legalistic mindset of gaining salvation and slowly realized that works should automatically flow out of my faith and love for God. Before coming to faith, I was selfish for my own well-being and did things just to impress people around me. After coming to faith, I slowly looked at how Jesus lived His life and cared for others by giving up time and energy to invest in meaningful relationships for God’s mission. My faith was stretched, and I grew the most throughout my undergraduate years and during mission trips. I learned to be more attuned to His calling and heart for the nations, as well as having Gospel conversations with believers and non-believers. He constantly reminded me of the joy and childlike faith of new believers when I witnessed them experience and encounter Jesus, especially among international students.
As I continue to grow, I can see evidence of God’s work in my life, especially in my relationships with others. I am learning to be more intentional and care for other’s souls beyond just the regular “how are you?” I now think of ways I can include the Gospel in my daily life, laying down myself at the cross (my agendas and worldly dreams in life), and figure out how I can make my career in science a ministry to reach out and bring people to God instead of chasing material things. Praise God for answering my prayer to help my unbelief and for continuing to guide me in His truth.