This Day in History: 0000-02-18

February 18 – Mark 9:17-25 

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so You could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.
“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.
He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw the crowd of onlookers was growing, He rebuked the evil spirit… 

How often do we approach Jesus with the same raw honesty of this precious father? I love this guy, because he didn’t seem all that concerned with eloquence or pretense as He approached Jesus. Perhaps he didn’t really understand who stood before him. Perhaps he had simply heard about the healer who had come to town and dared to hope that something could be done for his boy. Perhaps the discouragement of the disciples’ failure to drive out the evil spirit had raised his skepticism to the point that a little bit of snark couldn’t help but spill out as he petitioned the Lord God Almighty for help. 

Whatever the reason, this man was not afraid to issue a challenge as he asked Jesus for help. “If you can.” he jabbed at the Lord. 

My mind’s eye imagines Jesus’s eyebrow raising. I picture a flash and then a sparkle in his eye, and the hint of a smirk twitching in the corner of his mouth. “What do you mean, ‘If I can”? Anything is possible if a person believes.” 

And then, some of my favorite words in all of Scripture escape the lips of this exhausted father, clinging to the final strands of hope in his heart. A pure, honest, and humble petition to the Author and Finisher of faith. 

“I do believe, but HELP ME overcome my unbelief!” 

And He did.

Friends, it is so important for us to learn something from this man! Our faith is not going to be perfect. We’re blinded by the baggage of these fallen bodies. Our minds are warped and cynical thanks to the stain of sin. But we have access to the one true Healer! We have an audience with the Creator of our souls! He has the power to overcome our unbelief, and often, He’s just waiting for us to ask!