When Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life,” I desperately want to believe and obey. But sometimes I can’t. It’s hard. The tremendous weight of my problems and worries crushes me and the words of Jesus dissipate. He and his promises just lack the tangibility of my present concerns. My faith–that is, my trust or belief–is too weak. I believe in Jesus and I believe His Word, but sometimes I just need to believe more. Sometimes the burden of life requires a faith deeper and stronger than the faith I have.
And in such times God is gracious. I pray; he answers. I petition him for the gift of faith and he responds by increasing my ability to trust him and believe His Word. I cry, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” And he does.
But what do we do when he doesn’t respond? To be honest, sometimes he doesn’t respond–not right away, or not exactly as I would like him to. Jesus suggests–and I, of course, concur–that we keep praying. Keep petitioning. Keep reading. But there is something else we can do. Read apologetics. Read articles and books and listen to lectures that argue for the plausibility of the Christian faith. I think this, too, is biblical. In my experience it has been remarkably helpful.
Think about it! There is a unity to the Christian faith. It consists of lots and lots of claims, and if one claim is false, then this casts doubt on the other claims. Even if one claim seems false (even though we know it isn’t) it can affect our ability to believe other seemingly unrelated claims. For example, if I’m at a used car lot and the salesman lies about their financing program, this lie will cast doubt on what he has told me about the mechanical integrity of the car I’m buying. They are unrelated claims, but there is a unity that ties them together. In the same way, if I find it implausible or hard to believe that human beings are souls with bodies, I might also find it hard to believe or implausible that Jesus is going to take care of me.
So, in light of that point–and countless more like it–let us read apologetics. Let us gather information and evidence that increases our ability to believe the truth claims of the Christian faith. And then maybe the next time Jesus tells us not to be anxious, we will be better able to trust him.
Here is a little something to get you started (the first one, by a very good philosopher, is on the interaction of the soul and body):