The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit
When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
I so connect with the father’s words to Jesus…”I believe; help my unbelief!” I have been there so many times – places where I can confidently say that I believe wholeheartedly, but also recognizing that there’s a whole lot ahead that will take a big leap of faith. I took this picture of a Lego tower built at a church event a few weeks back – I loved how part of it is in clear focus but the rest seems to fade off into the distance. This is how faith feels a lot of the time to me and how I see this statement from the father in this story. There is a part that is absolutely clear, solid, and sure – just like these bricks that are locked together and nothing’s going to break them apart. However, the further one looks ahead, the blurrier it becomes – the less sure things feel. Yet, its still connected to the whole – its not separated, but its a path that still is before me. In this story, the man recognizes the power that Jesus has, but he (like all of us) has the elements asking, “Can this really happen?” It can. And here it does. I pray tonight for all those (myself included) who have parts of their lives ahead of them that feel like the road ahead is fuzzy, yet they too hold to what they have seen and where they have been, trusting that the one who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” – that his promise is sure.