If You Can.
I wrote this blog about five years ago as a brand-newlywed college student. My mom had the incredible idea to start a blog for my cousin as she was entering her teen years. The goal was to walk my cousin, and whoever else chose to read, through the Gospels in order to help ground her in the truth of scripture. As I think back on this blog it makes me even more appreciative of my mom and the mentor she is to so many. As I re-read this post I was struck with the application it has for my family’s current context. We are coming to God, asking Him for a miracle, and so often I come to Him with an “If you can do anything” attitude. In the midst of my emotions, God wants to hear my emotions. He is gracious and will give me faith in the midst of the storm. I hope today’s journal entry encourages you.
“How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father. “From childhood,” he said. “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Then Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ Everything is possible to the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly coming together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” Then it came out, shrieking and convulsing him violently. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.”Mark 9:21-27
To the father in this story, getting rid of the evil spirit that controlled his son seemed impossible. This spirit had been controlling the boy for a long time making it easy for the father to think that his son could never be healed. On top of that, some of the disciples had tried to drive it out but they failed, causing the father to doubt that the spirit would ever leave his son. However, the fact that the father had brought his son to Jesus shows that he still trusted that Jesus could drive the spirit out. After all he had been through, his “IF You can do anything” statement seems understandable and doubting that Jesus could fix the problem appears to be a legitimate response, but Jesus reminds him that, “Everything is possible to the one who believes.” The father responded by stating that he does believe (trust), but he also admitted that he had doubts and found it difficult to trust God.
Trusting God but still having doubts may seem impossible, but it definitely isn’t. There will be times when you are facing a problem or a decision that you know is too difficult for you to handle. You may know that all you can do in that situation is ask God to help you, so you take the situation to God through prayer and you trust that He is in control of that situation, but you still have these doubts that God can’t resolve the situation or guide you to the right decision. That is ok! That is a part of growing as a Christian. The proper response when you are having trouble trusting God is honesty. God wants you to admit that you don’t have it all together. The father in this passage admitted that he knew he should believe, and he wanted to believe, but he knew he wasn’t believing like he should. He didn’t put on an act with Jesus and pretend like he was a super Christian while trying to make himself believe more. He honestly admitted that he needed help believing. God wants you to ask Him for help. He wants you to become more like Him, so He encourages you to ask that He help you trust Him more.
Faith is not something you can make yourself have more of. It is something God gives you. Growing in faith is a continual process that requires you make a decision daily to trust God and His plan for your life. Growing in faith also means spending time in His Word. Each day, when you open your Bible, you are giving God an opportunity to speak to you. Each time He speaks to you, your faith will grow. Therefore, growing in faith requires that you choose to trust Him each day and let Him speak to you through His word.
I cannot end this post before pointing out one very important part of this story. God DOES drive the evil spirit out of the boy. The father trusted Jesus, honestly admitted that he had doubts, and asked God to grow his faith. Because the father believed, Jesus did a miracle. The problem that seemed impossible to solve was solved! Jesus proved that what he said in Matthew 19:26 was true. “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”