Tuesday, October 8, 2013

If You Can

 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 

Talk about drama. We all like a little drama in our lives, preferably in a book or on TV- nothing that directly affects us, of course. But man, does my heart break for this dad in Mark 9.
 
 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him."

I have four perfectly healthy children. The terror and struggle that gripped this poor man's life are beyond my comprehension. Still, I can think of more than one time I have thought something similar to his next statement: 

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

If you can.

Now, a good Christian girl like me would probably not dare to say it in those words exactly, but with the despair I have felt in my soul over the plight of others, or hopelessness that has hung about my neck in the face of guilt and unbelief, I might as well have said it verbatim. In straight-up fear, I have asked...

"If you can."

As if I didn't call upon the One who makes all things new. The One who moves mountains, and removes hearts of stone to replace them with living, beating hearts of flesh.

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 

This is no prosperity gospel. No "have more faith and you can do whatever you put your mind to."

No. But it is truth. I have seen it on the faces of the strongest women I know. The ones who have gone through unspeakable horrors and been refined by the fires of grief, and come out on the other side with a faith stronger than I can describe.
 
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

It is a desperate thing to call out to the Lord when there are simply no other options left, because you know you have tried them all. But that doesn't keep the Lord from helping you. So often our last resort, when He should be our go-to guy, yet He works in us all the same.

And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And 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 arose.

If you are struggling with whether or not God can remedy your circumstance, let me tell you- He can.

If you are struggling because you know God can, you just don't know if He will, take heart. God is not unsympathetic, and His is not far off. In fact, He is just the opposite:

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

We do not have a God who sits on His throne making arbitrary decisions about whether or not to please us. We are dearly beloved children of the Great Physician, who works on our broken selves and whispers in our aching ears, "Just keep watching, and wait. It is going to be so worth it."

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:16-18
 
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