23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
“If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you.” Those of you who are hopeless romantics like me will recognize that as the opening line of the song, “IF”, by the 70’s group Bread. I love that song. I know David Gates didn’t write it as a love song to God, but I think it works. The lyrics express the human longing to know why we can’t seem to do the great things we want to do, but acknowledges we still love. And, it says that love is so strong it will be the only thing that lasts in the end of time.
Big things really do come in small packages, don’t they? Take the word, “if”. Such a small word can mean the difference in everything we believe. It did for the father of the epileptic boy Jesus healed, and it does in our life as well.
God’s Will Is Always Done
Too often, we approach Jesus in our time of need just like the father of the boy in Mark 9. We believe, but do we really believe? Have you ever approached God with a great need, only to say, “Please Lord, if you will…” I know I have. It feels polite to say “if”. As beloved children of our Father, we need to know we can come boldly before his throne, with all reverence and humility, and ask for anything, knowing whatever we receive will be God’s will. We must pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
Do we believe God wants to give good gifts to His children? I hope so. Jesus said so in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Everything God does is good.
In verse 22, the boy’s father said to Jesus, “but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus repeated the father’s words with exclamation; “…if you can!” The father came to Jesus and his disciples because he’d heard of his miracle working ministry. He too hoped for a miracle. But, Jesus wants us to know, as He did the boy’s father, that we need not doubt. Only ask in faith believing. Jesus can do ALL things, because He is God.
Of course, just like from our earthly parents, we don’t get from God everything we want just because we ask nicely, even so, we can trust that whatever we receive from God is the best for us; faith will reveal so in the end.
So, no matter what you may be feeling, and no matter how much you think God isn’t listening – He is. And, He promises to give good things to His children…to always raise them from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”