Bible Reading: Mark 9:14-29
When I read this story, I often wondered why Jesus seemed frustrated by the situation. Upon hearing the father’s request for healing and deliverance of his son, Jesus replies by saying, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Why does Jesus seem annoyed with this father’s request. We have to take the entire story into account. Jesus is not approached by a father seeking help, but Jesus comes down the mountain after the Transfiguration, and he sees the people are arguing with his disciples. The argument is over the disciples’ failure to do what the people wanted. They want signs, wonders and miracles, and they were not satisfied with failure.
All attention turns to Jesus when he walks up, and this father comes seeking help once again, and he is getting desperate. Jesus disciples had failed, and he is possibly doubting whether or not Jesus can save his son. Not to excuse the lack of faith in Jesus, but the man’s logic is likely something like: since the students failed, and they learned from this teacher, then this teacher will likely fail as well. Students reflect their teachers, so this father may think Jesus is not equipped to cast out a demon. And this is the core of Jesus frustration. He has come to make the Father known and to do the Father’s will, yet people desire the miracles more than the Miracle-Maker. In this moment we read an amazing exchange that should always lead us to reflect on our approach to prayer.
The Dad - But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.
Jesus - ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.
In a desperate cry for faith and help, Jesus delivers the man’s son from the demon. His mercy and grace know no bounds, even when met with discouraged, doubtful consent to faith. The disciples may have failed, but this dad learned that day that Jesus does not and cannot fail.
Application: How many times have circumstances caused you to doubt God’s ability to answer prayers? What we learn from Jesus here is that our focus should not be on what we are asking for, but on the One whom we are asking. Situations can cause us to doubt or half-heartedly ask because we already feel defeated, but God is greater than our situations! If you have anything that needs prayer, do not look at the problem, but look to God, the problem solver! Nothing is impossible for God, so pray to God with bold, confident faith.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I have doubted you because I looked at my circumstances instead of you. I know and believe you are greater, and that there is nothing you cannot do. Strengthen my faith within me, and help me to know and remember forever that you are God, and you can do anything. I love you, Heavenly Father. Amen.