"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Sunday, October 9, 2011

If I can?

   
"If you can do anything to help..." the father pleads with Jesus for the healing of his son.  (Mark 9)
   
I can only imagine the agony this father has experienced.  I hate watching my children hurt.  It breaks my heart and it brings me to my knees asking God to heal, to protect and to help.
 
This father is no different.  He brings his son to find healing and when Jesus looks at him, he says, "If you can do anything to help, please take pity on us".  (Mark 9:22)

What was Jesus' response to this request?

"If I can?"  (Mark 9:23)

Can you just picture the scene.  The love and faith of this father is remarkable.  He believes enough to bring his sick son to the disciples and ask for help.  He is desperate. He watches and listened while the disciples argue with the Pharisees... about who knows what.

Then, Jesus returns from His heavenly-touches-earth-moment on the mount (the Transfiguration) and interrupts this confusing soiree with His presence.  His arrival breaks up the crowd, they are in awe.  And, Jesus is clearly annoyed.  "You faithless generation.  How long do I have to put up with you?"  (Mark 9:19).

And then He turns to the real issue at hand...  the boy and the father.

"Bring the boy to me", He commands.  Do you think the father might feel a little afraid, a little on-the-spot, maybe discouraged?  I don't know.  Maybe the look in Christ's eyes is one of compassion when He addresses this father.   But we do know that, because the demons are agitated, right there and then the boy goes into convulsions.  What agony the father must have felt every time the convulsions started.

And then he pleads...  "if you can... have pity".

Jesus rebukes him, steering him toward truth.  He responds to the father, "If I can? All things are possible for those who believe".  The father says profoundly, "I do believe.  Help me with my unbelief!"

I do believe, I say.  I do.  You know I do.  I really, really do. 
And, please Lord Jesus, help me with my unbelief!  


Right now I am reading a beautiful, beautiful story written by George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin.
   
I am only half way through and I am in love with this book!  It will top my favorite's list, to be sure.  What moved me today, though, is the amazing way MacDonald's reminds the reader about our need to remember--- or, our tendency to forget.
"'..child, you must come back to me.  If you don't, I do not know when you may find me again.'  'Oh! Please don't let me forget.'  'You shall not forget.  The only question is whether you will believe I am anywhere--whether you will believe I am anything but a dream.  You may be sure I will do all I can to help you come.  But it will rest with yourself, after-all.... During the whole of the week, Irene had been thinking every other moment of her promise [to visit], although even now she could not feel quite sure that she had not been dreaming.  Could it really be?"  (The Princess and the Goblin)
A dream.   ...we think, do we sometimes and somewhere deep within think, that this "all things are possible" spoken from Jesus is just a dream.  ...can it really be true?  Did He really mean all things?  We believe, yes!  And, we remember to believe right up to the moment we do forget.

Even my deepest, truest, most fervent belief is tainted by unbelief.  This is why we need Jesus so.  He reminds us.  He keeps pursuing us and keeps working on our behalf.  He invites us to believe.  And, rebukes us when we don't.  And, then he heals our sons and daughters.  He answers our prayers.  ...or doesn't (as we see it).  But, He can.  He can.

And we must bring Him our sons.  We must come.  We must ask.  We must keep looking for Him and seeking Him.

This is what He is reminding me tonight.
Ask me, Stephanie.  Pray.  Tell me what you need and what you want.  Ask and you will receive.  Believe and trust. Bring it to me.   

With a welling heart, full of hope, I say to Him, "I believe.  Help me with my unbelief".
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