Updated: Aug 28, 2018
Mark 9:23-24 New King James Version
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! "
This story in Mark 9 tells of a desperate father who may have all but lost hope that his son would be healed from his affliction. The story was not about his son's affliction it was about his faith. Our faith is a work in progress, and God is always calling us higher in that faith. I have faced many struggles where I have prayed and did not get the outcome that I wanted and ended up disappointed and questioning my faith. I can imagine how this man felt. Jesus asked how long it was happening and the father replied "since childhood"and from his description it has been very difficult, and draining.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Earlier in the story the disciples tried to heal the boy, but their faith was not where it should be. Jesus stepped in and rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. They were traveling with Jesus and spent so much time with him and witnessed so many miracles, and yet they did not believe. I have felt like this sometimes I have found myself thinking,
"Lord I have been walking with you all this time and yet in some areas my faith just is not where it should be."
I am sure I am not the only one. The disciples tried to heal the boy and were unsuccessful, when they brought the boy to Jesus the spirit within him convulsed the boy. The spirit recognized Jesus, manifested itself and tried to destroy him.
20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus observed and took note of what was happening, and the man (I am sure who was at his wits end) looked to Jesus for help for his son. As I read this scripture and I meditated on it a couple of things stand out to me.
1. The issue at hand was not this man, his son or his affliction.
The Lord is intentional, He allows difficulty and stress in life for many different purposes. He is sovereign and righteous, He knows what is best for us -He knows the end from the beginning. We do not experience hardship without God having a plan to meet our needs.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
2. Jesus was not bothered by the manifestation of evil, or the power it appeared to have over the boy.
Jesus being God in the flesh was not bothered by the demon showing itself. The manifestation was a result of the power of God through Jesus Christ. What I also observed was that among all of those people the only one who recognized the power of God was the demon. The demon knew who Jesus was- Jesus never concerned himself with demons. When it ws time for them to go he spoke a word and they left.
3. Jesus was only concern was FAITH.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen according Hebrews 11:1. Jesus told the desperate father that he all things were possible to them that believe. The man professed his faith and at the same shared his unbelief.
Honesty in unbelief
Are we really honest in our faith? Are we able to tell God in the midst of our crisis that we believe, but we also need help in the places in us that find it hard to believe? I have been in some pretty impossble situations and I have heard from God and recieved promises of provision and deliverance and believed! Only to be challenged in that faith by bills piling up and not having any money to pay them. Praise God that He showed up and paid the bills and held back the waters that I could pass through. I admire his honesty and realness with Jesus if the disciples were that honest - what would they have been able to do in that moment? The truth is sometimes we have a hard time believing God and taking him at His word. The honesty of the father positioned him for an elevation of his faith.
God knows where our faith is
When Jesus stood on the water and called Peter out of the boat he did so being fully aware that he would at some point start to sink. Peter got out of the boat because he trusted Jesus, and was hungry for yet another revelation of his power. Peter's sinking was the manifestation of his humanity and limitations. Jesus pulling him up was the rvelation of the truth that with Christ in our sight we can do the impossible. Faith is a journey - and we cannot walk it alone, and if we are honest and expose the unbelief in our hearts Jesus can pull us up, correct our vision, and elevate our faith.