A man emerges from the crowd to approach Jesus. He has been watching his son suffer in excruciating ways since childhood.
“….But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us,” the man begs Jesus.
“If I can! All things are possible for one who believes,” Jesus responds.
IMMEDIATELY the father cries out, “I believe;
…help my unbelief.”
I can so relate to this man. Immediately jumping in to say anything to heal my child, without even thinking about what I am really saying. But this man does something right after that I’m not sure I always do. Still in the same breath…only a semicolon separating the words…he admits his unbelief.
The father of the boy has been around. Word spreads fast in these parts. Incredible miracles have been taking place. Entire villages healed. Thousands of people fed from basically nothing.
He knows these disciples of Jesus are healing, but they couldn’t heal his son. Why? Why could they heal others and not my son?, the man must be thinking. He has seen the miracles, but they don’t seem to be working in his case. Doubt creeps in.
He knows Jesus heals. He believes Jesus CAN heal. But he isn’t sure at the same time if Jesus WILL.
Maybe his son’s case is too far gone. Maybe Jesus really can’t heal. Or, maybe He just won’t. All thoughts likely swirling around this desperate father's mind.
Why, why can’t I just believe? I picture him yelling at himself in his head as he waits to see what Jesus will do next.
What does Jesus do with this fragile and noncommittal belief?
Does He rebuke him?
Does He turn and walk away?
Does He tell him to come back when he can muster up more belief?
Here’s what Jesus does with this belief/non-belief see-saw: He heals.
I get so much encouragement from this story.
I believe with everything in me that Jesus CAN and DOES heal. I believe that Jesus can do ANYTHING. But I also know that healing doesn’t always come and deep, prayed over suffering still remain.
So here is when I also have to believe and trust in God’s goodness, love, mercy, and grace. God sees a bigger, eternal picture that we only see an extremely small slither of. Though I might not understand why things do or don’t happen, I believe that God is in control and that no suffering or pain goes unnoticed or unusable. I believe that everyone who believes will ultimately be healed and restored FOREVER. Until then, I believe we will have trials and suffering to endure. But through it all God will never leave us and God promises that ALL of it can be used for good.
God, thank you that You are in control of everything. Please let not one single ounce of suffering go to waste. Thank you for your patience as we struggling through the hard stuff. Thank you that You only ask for a mustard seed size of belief. And even in this microscopic belief, mountains can move.
Take time to read Mark 9:14-29 today. I would love to hear your thoughts!