Mark 9:21–29 (NASB 95)
21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
Explain / Examine
Jesus, Peter, James, and John had just gotten back from the Mount of Transfiguration. They walked up to a scene that I can see as chaotic. A demon-possessed boy having convulsions, a crowd of people, the disciples, the scribes, arguments, accusations, confusion, and who knows what else is going on. After lamenting, Jesus feeds the actual need in the storm. He finds a father and gets him to confess what he really needs. Faith that Jesus can do what He says He can do. Yes, he confesses that this has been happening for almost the boy’s whole life. But the father, who has run out of options, comes to Jesus with belief and unbelief. This is a battle that is happening. The demon is essential, but I feel the father’s belief in Jesus is the more important story.
How do I apply this to my life?
Where is my unbelief? We all have some area of our lives that we don’t believe God can handle or that we want to surrender. What is mine? The same unbeliefs that have plagued my life since childhood? Am I loved? God, can you handle my sex life? What if I don’t have enough money? And even if I seem uncaring, whether you accept or like me, internally, that is a fear. Time and time again I have tried laying these things down at the feet of Jesus. And yet, if I have any fear in these areas, that means I don’t have faith in these areas. So, I don’t believe God in these areas. Not that this is a not stop constant fear, but let’s face it, we all have our moments of unbelief. So, the big question is do we identify our unbelief when we have it? Or do we keep going and struggle with our faith because if we do finally believe, we will die? We will die to self, and only Jesus can take us by the hand and pick us up. If we are dead, we can’t complain about how hard we work to be self-sufficient in these areas. If we die, we can’t keep enjoying our sin in these areas. If we are dead we can no longer pretend we have things under control. It takes our weakness and exposes it. Especially as men, in culture, men are to be tough and have solace. We must suffer in silence and isolation. Or the opposite must happen. We are to one hundred percent live in our emotions and flip our gender roles. How about we find a trustworthy community of like-minded individuals and share our emotions? Be vulnerable and tell someone, “I’m not ok!” In that, we can begin to find healing and the faith that says in my unbelief, I want to believe. We ask that God give us a little something that shows we can trust Him in all areas of our lives. But we must die, and that scares us.
What is my response?
Father, I have unbelief. There are areas of my life that I struggle with giving you control. I have trust issues. I have fallen into the trap of being the only person to care for my needs. And that is not true… Jesus is right there, hand out, waiting for me to take hold of it. Do I question my salvation? No! So, it comes back to me: I can trust God with my eternity but not my daily life. That’s a lie. God help my unbelief. Help me to flip my untrust into complete trust in You! Help me to be who I am supposed to be, and not try to do everything to “save” me from death. I need You. Let me see that in every moment of every day until I see you face to face. Amen