If You Can?
Key Texts: Mark 9:14-29
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “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.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
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.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
They are harsh words, harsher than we are used to hearing from Jesus:
“You unbelieving generation! How long should I stay with you? How long should I put up with you?”
But perhaps his frustration with them is simply because the stakes are so high.
Here is this horribly oppressed boy and his family, in such desperate need. Perhaps all Jesus is lamenting is the fact that people – we – so often have trouble with this thing called faith.
In spite of the evidence to the contrary, we are so easily discouraged when it comes to believing in Jesus’ power to perform miracles.
Even the father says, “If you can…” before he makes his desperate plea for healing.
We too, at times, can only say “If you can…” instead of boldly claiming, “Lord, I know you can!”
I believe though, that God compassionately understands this struggle we have with faith.
I also believe that we must trust that, though healing clearly does not always come exactly as we desire, it comes in some way, nonetheless.
So, I would invite you to be bold. Believe in God’s healing power for your lives. It may come in the form of physical or mental healing. It will always come in the form of spiritual healing – if we allow Him to have His way in our lives.
However it comes – it will come.
God loves us that much.