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Weekly Devotionals

Weekly Devotional: Help  my unbelief

Mark 9:16-24 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”19 He answered him and said, “O faithless[b] generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I [c]bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”23 Jesus said to him, “If[d] you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

I tried to imagine the boy’s father state of mind. To have his son, most likely an adolescent, constantly convulsing, foaming in his mouth uncontrollably. To see this day after day, year after year since the boy was a little child. I imagine this father, who loves his son, trying all sort of things, getting all kinds of help from the doctors and experts of its time, to only find disappointment. I can imagine the anger and bitterness gradually building up in his heart, the “unfairness” of his son’s condition, a total sense of helplessness and perhaps failure as a father. Can such a man even have a peaceful sleep at night?

And then he hears about a Nazarene prophet and his disciples who do miracles. He hears about blind people seeing, evil spirits being cast out, and all of a sudden a ray of hope reaches his heart. And yet, it’s not a full blown kind of hope, but a hope that comes with doubts, with some skepticism attached, from years of disappointing results.

And he finds disappointment once again, his hope quenched once again, as Jesus disciples, the people closest to Him, are unable to cure his son.

So it’s not too difficult to understand, that such a man comes with a weight of unbelief in his heart. By the time he comes to Jesus, he addresses his request with a conditional statement “IF you can do anything…”

Jesus, who probably saw right through this man’s heart, quips right back convicting him with another conditional statement “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”. This man in a cathartic reaction, perhaps because he sensed that Jesus so intimately recognized the condition of his heart, cries out, in tears, no longer calling him teacher, but “Lord” and shouts “help my unbelief”.

Can you relate to this man? I know I can…We believe in Jesus, but sometimes we need His personal touch to shatter our unbelief, crystalized by years of weariness and disappointment. Let’s go to Him who gives us this promise of surrendering faith.

Have a good week everyone!

Paulo Rhee