How many of us would be able to claim a more definite faith the the father in the passage below? Jesus’s response is simply to command the spirit to leave, which it does. But then Jesus needs to gently help the boy to his feet as he has been left in a state near to death. After the event, the disciples ask Jesus why they were unable to heal the boy. Jesus’s answer is quite vague – “this kind [of spirit] can be cast out only by prayer”. It seems to me that Jesus is saying that no matter how strong any disciple may be in his faith, there will always be situations where your faith will be stretched to it’s limit. There are some things that only God can do. No matter how hard we might try, we can not heal the sick or cast out demons or any other such thing without the holy spirit of God flowing through us. It is very easy to lose heart or even faith when we see what we can’t do. But just because we will sometimes fail doesn’t mean we will always fail.
Mark 9:20-29 NLT
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 that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
Dear Lord and Father, thank you for all the things you have helped me to achieve since I asked you to walk with me. Help me to remember what you have done and what you do everyday in my life. I pray that when I next find myself in a difficult situation in which I feel powerless, you will hear me when I pray. Help me also, to accept the times when my faith fails and I am overcome with doubt. Help me overcome my unbelief. Amen.
Leviticus 20:22-22:16, Mark 9:1-29, Psalms 43:1-5, Proverbs 10:18