Help My Unbelief

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’
— Mark 9:24

I can trust You when I see
Ev’ry step You’ve planned for me,
But when wind and waves arise,
Fear awakens in my eyes.
Why do I distrust and fear?
You will never disappear.
Reach into this stormy sea,
Hear my cry, and rescue me.

I believe, yes, I believe.
Help, oh Lord, my unbelief!
I believe, yes, I believe.
Help, oh Lord, my unbelief! 

I am fully satisfied
When my heart delights in Christ.
But when I give in to sin,
Only hollow joys remain.
Who can satisfy but You? 
You can fill me through and through.
Quench my thirsty soul, oh Lord,
That my joy may be restored.

I know You are good to me
When You send prosperity.
But when peace gives way to pain,
In frustration I complain.
How could I find fault with You? 
You are always just and good.
Grant me faith, not just relief;
Help, oh, help my unbelief!

Words by Dustin Battles; Music by Paul Keew
© 2016 Dustin Battles and Watchsong. All rights reserved




This is my first hymn collaboration with colleague and schoolmate Dustin Battles. I was excited to work on a new hymn based on one of the most remarkable and honest statements of faith in the Scripture: "I believe; Lord, help my unbelief!" We wanted the chorus to be as brief and heartfelt a cry to God as that statement.

During the collaborative process, we each welcomed our firstborn child, and Dustin moved to a new state and job. So a year and a half later, we finally finished it!

Textual Notes from Dustin: The first stanza is about fear and unbelief. You can imagine Peter saying the words of stanza one. He has faith when all is well, but when times get tough he starts to sink. So he cries out to Jesus for help and Jesus reaches down and lifts him up. We have similar prayers: “I can trust You when I see every step You have for me, but when life gets tough, I don’t trust You. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I trust You?”

The second stanza is about sin and unbelief. David was a man after God’s own heart, yet committed adultery with another man’s wife. How could he do such a thing? It was because he tried to find satisfaction in something other than God. We too “give in to sin” but “only hollow joys remain.” Only Christ can fully and truly satisfy. 

The third stanza is about pain and unbelief. Job certainly knew pain suffering. In the end he was humbled by God. We’re like him, in some ways. We know that God is good—at least when all is well. But when trials come, we forget God is good. We complain as if our way is better than God’s way.

The second half of each stanza begins with a question: “Why…?” “Who…?” and “How…?” All are introspective questions that can be answered by and in God.

Each stanza ends with a call to God for him to “help my unbelief.” Yet each of these cries is rooted in the fact that there is belief to begin with. Yet the cry is for help in continuing to believe. “I believe, yes, I believe. Help, oh Lord, my unbelief!”