What if the key is not the amount of faith we have in Jesus but rather the direction our faith points us—either towards Jesus or towards ourselves?
Powerlessness might be one of the worst feelings we can face as humans. Being faced with a situation we can bring no resolution to can cause us to fall back on some of our worst traits and lead us to moments of despair.
In Mark 9 we see the story of a boy possessed by a demon. His father brings him to Jesus after the disciples were unable to heal the boy. We learn from the passage that the boy has been like this since childhood and the demon has, at times, thrown the boy into water or fire in order to try and kill him. I admit I often read this passage and skip right to the miracle and fly right past the anguish this father must have felt that for years and years he’s had to worry at every moment for the safety of his son. He finally approaches the disciples and they too can do nothing for the boy and now he finds himself face to face with Jesus. In one of my favorite exchanges in the Gospels, the father says to Jesus, “If you can do anything…”. Words of desperation and honesty. I love the way Jesus responds, “If you can?”.
It leads me to wonder how many times in my own prayers I’ve given a request to God with so little faith attached it sounds more like a wish than a faithful request. How many times have I said the right words to God about a request but not actually believed he could do anything about it? In a companion passage to this story, Matthew 17, Jesus tells the disciples that all they needed was “faith as small as a mustard seed”.
What if the key is not the amount of faith we have in Jesus but rather the direction our faith points us—either towards Jesus or towards ourselves? What if the key isn’t the depth of our faith but the person in whom we put our faith—either Jesus or ourselves? What if there are situations in your life right now where it seems as though God is inattentive or inactive and he’s actually just waiting for us to, in faith, ask Him? What if even in the moments where his timing isn’t like ours he is actually helping us develop greater faith in him?
The simple truth is this, the issue in these moments is never God’s ability or power to act. It could simply be our inability to believe. When confronted with this truth, may our response be like the father in this story, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
If powerlessness is one of the worst feelings, perhaps resting in the almighty power of God is one of the best. This week as we study this passage may we place the things that overwhelm us, by faith, in the hands of the one who has never faced a situation he can’t redeem, unravel or resolve.