January 20, 2013
Mark Chapter 9:
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
As I sat listening to the sermon I thought about all the times I have gone to Jesus on behalf of my sons (Joshua particularly for healing). I have long wrestled with the notion that I may not have enough faith, or maybe I am just asking in the wrong way, or maybe I have harbored secret doubts that have prevented God from healing Joshua. These are things that in my head I know can't stop God from moving, from working, but my heart sometimes doubts.
As I sat in church this morning I heard this story with fresh ears. The Father uses the word 'if' (verse 22), it's a word I have found myself using regularly in my prayers for Josh. I don't know if I doubt that God CAN do it, but rather that he 'WILL' do it. Two very different things. What struck me though, what Tim pointed out in the sermon, was that Jesus didn't say to the father 'come back when you have more faith' instead he healed his son. What an incredible notion! How freeing to hear those words! To know that my doubts, worries and failures are not being held against Josh. I can pray and ask for healing, I can even express doubt and use a word like 'if' and God will work regardless. What I really need to pray, what I really need to be asking, is what the father in this story was praying and asking.
"Lord, help me overcome my unbelief"